For Friday’s game against Pine Bluff, the goal is simple: Don’t underestimate the Zebras.
Coach Mark Balisterri said that Wednesday, even though the Panthers beat them 10-0 earlier this season.
“If we go out there and play our game and don’t let them hang around, then we should be good,” Balisterri said. “My main concerned is being focused for the game.
“Pine Bluff is Pine Bluff, and they have been beating people for years. Even when they are down, they always beat people they aren’t supposed to beat.”
Point and case is Pine Bluff’s 6-3 win over El Dorado Tuesday night.
“Pine Bluff is a lot better than the first time we played them,” Balisterri said. “They are not the same team.”
For Pine Bluff, its pitcher is one of their best players, but he pitched against El Dorado and “did a good job.”
Balisterri said when he is playing short stop he anchors their defense, but when he is pitching their defense is more or less suspect.
“We got to take care of business,” Balisterri said.
Expected to start Friday is Coulton Lee, who struggled a little bit against El Dorado last week.
“Hopefully he will come out Friday and be on top of his game like he has most of the year,” Balisterri said.
With the way the conference is shaping up, Friday’s game against Pine Bluff could be big for the Panthers. Right now, Benton sits in second place behind Texarkana, who is 6-1 in conference.
Luckily for Benton, four of their five big games left are at home, including Pine Bluff, Sheridan and El Dorado.
“We are sitting in good shape,” Balisterri said.
Benton defeated Little Rock McClellan Tuesday 27-0 in thee innings. The Panthers scored 11 runs in the first and 16 in the second.
Ashton Roberts had two hits and two runs batted in while Brooks Balisterri had a hit, a walk, an RBI and two runs scored. Justin Vincent was 1-3 with a run and a RBI.
Stuart levy was 1-1 with an RBI and a walk. Lee had a hit with two RBIs and two runs scored. Lucas Haley was 1-1 with a run, two RBIs and a walk.
Roberts pitched two innings, allowing just one hit with six strikeouts. Vincent pitched an inning and struck out two of the batters he faced.