Everett can’t complete comeback vs. LR

Tony Lenahan
Sports Editor

BENTON – Down 7-0 after five and a half innings, Benton Everett GMC made a valiant comeback, but were denied by the Little Rock Vipers, as well as the home-plate umpire, in an eventual 7-6 loss Thursday at Bernard Holland Park in Benton, which was originally supposed to be played in Little Rock.
Everett scored a run in the bottom of the sixth and five more in the seventh to make it a 1-run game with Benton’s Austin Bull representing the tying run at third base
“We got down in the bottom of the seventh, 7-6, with the tying run on third and we stole home,” Everett Coach Brandon Wake said. “He (umpire) said he had strike three on a tag, or something. He never called anything and the batter said he heard nothing. If he would have called strike three, he would have ran because the catcher missed it.”
There was also some bad blood between Everett and Little Rock, which began last month when Everett beat the Vipers in their first matchup.
“We played Little Rock a few weeks ago and a guy stepped on the first baseman’s ankle, on what we thought was on purpose, but we let it role,” Wake said. “He did it again (Thursday) so it got tempers flaring there. You know how it goes, I’m tired of that.”
That first baseman who’s ankle was trampled on was Logan Black, who led the comeback charge in the late innings.
Everett picked up a run in the bottom of the sixth to make it 7-1 when Jared Kelley singled and scored on Black’s one-out double, and before that, Black came in to shut down the Vipers on the mound in relief to stop the bleeding in the top of the sixth when Little Rock scored three runs on four consecutive walks, a fielder’s choice, single and hit by pitch.
Black pitched a scoreless top of the seventh before Benton made their big comeback in the bottom of the inning. Logan Gartin and Elijah King singled and leadoff man Tristian Hutchinson walked to load the bases before Kelley’s fielder’s choice RBI made it a 7-2 game. Beau Brewer singled to reload the bases before Black knocked in two with a single to make it a 7-4 deficit. After a pop out to third for the second out, Austin Bull walked to load the bases and Eli Williams came through with a 2-run single to make it a 1-run game, sending Bull to third only for his steal of home for naught when the ump claimed strikeout for the third out.
But, according to Wake, it was those early runs which ended up hurting Everett as several were attributed to errors.
“We kicked it around a little bit (Thursday) and that’s what cost us,” he said. “We kicked it around twice, threw one away and it cost us about three runs.”
Andrew Swaim started for Benton giving up four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks, striking out three in four innings. Brewer pitched a scoreless fifth inning and struck out the first man of the sixth, but would walk four straight before getting relieved by Black, who pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless relief, giving up two hits and a walk, and striking out three.
At the plate, Black went 2 for 4 with three RBIs, Williams was 1 for 4 with two RBIs and Kelley was 1 for 3 with two runs and an RBI. Braden Carman, Gartin and King all added a hit.
Benton's game at Jacksonville Friday was rained out, and Everett will host Hot Springs Village for a doubleheader Monday at Bernard Holland Park in Benton.