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Sheridan knocks off Panthers

April 2, 2011

Benton’s Joseph Henry trots around the bases after hiting a solo home run in the fourth inning. Sheridan defeated Benton 7-6 Friday night. JOSH BARRON/Courier

The Sheridan Yellowjackets defeated the Benton Panthers 7-6 Friday night after Sheridan scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning with bases loaded to win the game.

Benton catcher Stuart Levy attempted to block the pitch but it bounced and went behind and Billy Wicker was able to slide in safely before Levy could make the tag.

“It was a disappointing night,” Benton coach Mark Balisterri said. “Every error we made, it cost us. The second inning is what killed us. We had two big errors which allowed them to score four runs.
“That’s the inning that hurt us.”

Sheridan coach Mike Moore said he was trying to call Wicker back before he broke for the plate.

“He is just real aggressive and I think he caught the catcher off guard, because [Levy] didn’t really go full speed until it was too late,” Moore said. [Wicker] got a great jump and a made a real athletic play.”

In the bottom of the second, Finley reached on an error and after a sacrifice bunt Finley advanced to second. Jake Smith would take first on a hit by pitch and after a fly out to third by Jake Crenshaw, outfielder Justin Willis singled to score Finley and move Smith to third.

An error by Joseph Heny allowed Smith and Willis to score and move Pender to third and Willis to second. An RBI-single by Josh Miller scored Willis to give Sheridan a 4-1 lead.

“We had been playing so well defensively,” Balisterri said. “We just couldn’t make the plays when we needed to or that we needed to win the ball game.
“They didn’t give up. They fought back and we had a chance to win the ball game. It was just a bad game and that’s baseball.”

After Ashton Roberts led off the top of the seventh with a single, Henry would follow with a double that scored Roberts. Two outs later, Matthew Krikorian hit a single that tied the game at 6.

“The good thing about it is, we have another game Monday,” Balisterri said. “You are not going to play every game perfect. For us to play like that and still have a chance to win is a credit to what kind of team this is.”

For Benton, Garrison Roy pitched three innings and allowed six runs on three hits with three walks. Roberts finished the game, allowing one run on two hits with three strikeouts and a walk.

For Sheridan, Finley pitched six innings allowing six runs on nine hits with five strikeouts and a walk.

“He pitched a great game for us,” Moore said. “He had good control and he gave us a chance to win.”

Zach Perkins came in relief and struck out Levy but gave up a two-out hit to Krikorian to tie the game.

“Zach came in and got that big strikeout and I thought that was huge,” Moore said.

The Panthers (9-4, 2-2 6A South) will play at North Little Rock Monday.

“For the most part, we played good defense. It just so happens that the errors we had were in bad spots,” Balisterri said. “We didn’t make the routine plays we usually make. We need to clean it up a bit.”

Henry homered in the top of the fourth inning after Finley hit a home run in the bottom of the third.

Benton had a 1-0 lead in the first inning after Brooks Balisterri, who led off with a single, scored on a RBI single by Stuart Levy.

“It was really just a good high school baseball game,” Moore said. “We had some timely hits and we got five base runners that were hit by pitch. That took the place of hits for us and set us up to score some runs.”

The Yellowjackets (13-2, 3-1 6A South) will play Pine Bluff at home Tuesday and at Little Rock McClellan on Friday.
• • •
The Sheridan Yellowjackets lost 6-2 to El Dorado Tuesday.

El Dorado scored three runs in the fourth inning thanks to three consecutive singles to start the inning. An error with two outs allowed two runs to score and a walk and a hit batter forced in another run.

“We weren’t playing near like we were before Spring Break,”Moore said of the El Dorado game. “We took it on the chin in that game.”

Willis was 3-3 with a walk and Nick Ware was 2-4 with two doubles and two RBIs. FInley had two hits, including a double.

Perkins pitched four innings and allowed five runs (one earned) on five hits with four strikeouts and three walks.

“He is still young and inexperienced,” Moore said. “He is a senior but he hasn’t pitched a lot for us.

“I think by the end of the season, he is going to be good.”

Finley pitched the fifth and sixth inning and allowed three hits with four strikeouts and two walks.

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