Freshman pitcher shuts out Miners

BAUXITE – Lack of defense and hitting led to a 6-0 Bauxite Miners loss to the Benton Freshmen Panthers on Monday in Bauxite. Bauxite Coach Michael Mattox summed up his team’s performance.

“Six errors,” he started. “Six errors on the field; six runs. At some point they correlate. It’s the story of our past couple weeks.”

Freshmen Panthers starter Jared Barker had something to with the Miners lack of hitting as he pitched five and two-third shutout innings giving up just one hit. Barker walked three and struck out two in 80 pitches.

“Jared Barker pitched great,” Benton freshmen Coach Jamie Jones said.
“He threw more pitches this game than he has all year. He pitched lights out.

“We hit the ball better than we have in the last couple games. I felt like our freshmen really stepped up against a pretty good Bauxite team we played [Monday]. They have a good club.”

After giving up an infield single to leadoff man Colby Johnson, Bauxite starter Ryan Weng struck out the next two freshman Panthers on fast balls. Johnson reached second on a stolen base when Chase Shamlin hit a single to left field to give the Benton freshen a 1-0 lead after one.

Barker walked junior leadoff Chris Revas to start the bottom of the inning, but after a foul out, Benton erased Revas when junior Tyler Willis grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to get out of the inning. Barker would retire the next eight Miners until Willis hit a two-out double to the right-center field gap in the bottom of the fourth. No damage would be done as Barker induced a foul out to the catcher.

The Benton freshmen (10-0) scored their second run in the top of the third when Barker reached on an error by the third baseman and Shamlin singled to right field. The Miners’ right fielder misplayed the ball letting it get by him and Barker scored from first for the 2-0 lead.

Benton would score four more unearned runs, two in the sixth and two in the seventh, as the Miners’ defense led to five unearned runs for the game.

“We’re just going to try to get better and eliminate some error,” Mattox said. “Definitely have to get better at the plate. You can’t win with zero ­– try to swing it a little better and clean it up on defense. Hopefully we can get it turned around.”

The Miners (8-11, 2-4 7-4A) went 2 for 19 for the game with Willis going 2 for 3 for Bauxite’s only hits.

“We’ve got a lot of things wrong at the plate,” Mattox said. “[Barker] did a good job of throwing strikes, but mechanically we didn’t look good at all.”

Weng pitched six innings for the loss giving up four runs (one earned) on six hits and a walk, while striking out six in 100 pitches. Senior Hunter Wray pitched the seventh giving up two unearned runs on one hit and two walks, without a strikeout.

For Benton, Jackson Owens relieved Barker with two outs in the sixth inning and pitched a scoreless one and an third innings giving up a hit, a walk and striking out one.

“Jackson Owens came in after [Barker] and closed the door,” Jones said. “You couldn’t ask for anything else.”

Shamlin went 3 for 4 with two RBIs to lead the Freshmen Panthers and Johnson went 1 for 2 with two runs scored. Barker went 1 for 3 with a run, Jeffrey Storment went 1 for 3 and Sam Baker went 1 for 4 with a double and a run.