6th inning gives McClendon’s cushion, win

BENTON — Leading by one run in the bottom of the sixth, Benton McClendon’s Appliance Senior Legion baseball team managed to plate two more runs to take a 10-7 lead over Jacksonville.
Corky Welch was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and, after a passed ball, was able to move to second. A balk, a walk to Ryan Besancon and a sacrifice bunt by Austin Hicks got the runners into scoring position.
Welch later scored on a wild pitch and, with two outs, Ryan Bewley picked up his second hit of the night with an RBI single to plate Bescancon.
This came after Welch was able to pitch out of a jam in the top of the inning. Jacksonville got two runners on with a lead off single and an one-out walk, but Welch struck out the next two batters to keep the game at 8-7.
McClendon’s would eventually win the game 10-8 at Bernard Holland Park after Jacksonville was able to get one of those runs back in the top of the seventh off of closer Coy Fitzhugh.
Things looked bleak for McClendon’s after Jacksonville scored five runs in the first inning off of starter Holden Hanley.
After a single and a walk to start the game, Jacksonville hit a three-run home run to take the lead. Three consecutive singles loaded the bases and a pair of walks plated two more runs for Jacksonville, which lead 5-0 after the first inning.
In the bottom half, Benton trimmed the lead to 5-1 thanks to an RBI single by Chase Southworth. Tanner Bates led off with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Southworth’s single plated the run, but the inning ended on a double play.
With the combined pitching efforts of Jacob Eakens and Briar Sample, Jacksonville did not score again until the fifth inning when its leadoff hitter plated two more runs with a two-run single. But Benton still led 8-7.
Eakens struck out a batter, hit two batters and gave up one hit. Sample struck out one, walked two and allowed the two-run single.
McClendon’s big inning came in the fourth when they batted around to score five runs and take an 8-5 lead.
Bewley led off with a double and later scored on a RBI single by Gene Dunkin. Southworth was hit by a pitch, and Welch reached on a walk. An infield hit by Besancon scored a run and a walk to Hicks forced in another. Michael Pope hit an RBI single and Benton finished the inning with a three-run lead.
Fitzhugh came in in the seventh inning and gave up a leadoff walk, a strikeout and back-to-back singles to load the bases. A sacrifice fly scored a run, but a ground ball to short gave McClendon’s the win.
Benton had a chance to score a couple of more runs in the second inning after loading the bases on a pair of hits and an error. But, a decision to bunt forced Besancon out at home, and a strikeout, a walk and a ground out ended the inning with McClendon’s managing to score just one run.
According to the schedule, Benton will play in the Zone 4 District Tournament, which will be held at Bryant High School beginning Friday.