BENTON — For the first time in his 21 years at Benton High School, coach Mark Balisterri witnessed the impossible. After trailing 11-0 after the top of the second inning, the Panthers were able to kick, scratch and crawl back to defeat Sheridan 12-11 at home Wednesday afternoon.
“I’ve never had a team down 11-0 and come back like that,” Balisterri said. “We came back because we hit the ball.
“Carson came in and just a phenomenal job [pitching] after being roughed up for five runs in the second.”
Benton took their only lead of the game in the sixth inning, scoring four runs thanks in part to a two-run single by Carson Holloway.
Senior Ashton Roberts singled to lead off the inning and Joseph Henry reached on an error at shortstop. A double by Stuart Levy — his only hit of the night — scored Roberts and Holloway’s single scored two more. A sacrifice bunt by Matthew Krikorian moved the runner to second before an error allowed the fourth, which allowed Greg Pryor to reach, to score.
Brooks Balisterri, who was batting about .500 went 0-5 in Wednesday’s game. But coach Balisterri said that just shows “what kind of team we have.”
“I’m proud of this team,” Balisterri said. “We could have faltered, we could have given up. But they didn’t.”
Sheridan scored five runs in the first and six in the second. Zach Perkins hit a two-run home run and Justin Willis hit a solo home run.
Benton’s Holloway and Garrison Roy hit home runs. Roy’s three-run home run in the bottom of the second put the Panthers on the board. Benton scored three runs in the second, two in the third, three in the fifth and four in the sixth.
“It was just a complete team effort,” Balisterri said.