Miners up big, hold on

MALVERN – Leading by seven runs after five innings, the No. 7 seed Bauxite Miners allowed the No. 6 seed Maumelle Hornets to tie the game in the last inning, but came away with a 10-7 win in 11 innings in the first round of the 7-4A District Tournament on Wednesday at Morrison Park in Malvern.

“I’m disappointed we couldn’t finish it in the seventh inning,” Bauxite Coach Michael Mattox said, “but for [the Miners] to hang around for four more innings and compete showed me a lot about this team, something I knew was in them, but haven’t seen all year long.”

Tied 7-7 going into the top of the 11th, Bauxite senior Ryan Weng, who had entered the game for an injured Easton Alarcon, walked to start the inning. Sophomore first baseman Ethan Hendrix was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second, and freshman Estevan Padilla laid down a sacrifice bunt, but when the first baseman went to tag Padilla, the ball came out of his glove for a safe call and the bases loaded.

Sophomore Ian Allred singled to left field to score Weng for the Miners’ first run since the fifth inning to give Bauxite an 8-7 lead. Maumelle pitcher Adam Bahloul, who was pitching in his seventh inning of relief, balked with Dylan Oliver at the plate to score Hendrix to make it 9-7 and Oliver walked on four pitches to load the bases again.

Leadoff man Chris Revas hit a grounder to the third baseman, who stepped on third for the first out, but took the force away from home where Padilla was safe for a 10-7 lead. Senior relief pitcher Hunter Wray pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the 11th including striking out Bahloul looking to end the game.

“That’s what I’ve been looking for,” Mattox said. “Win or lose, right there at the end, they showed me heart and I was proud of them either way.”

The Miners (10-12) had a 7-0 lead before losing it in the last two innings. Bauxite scored one in the first on junior Tyler Willis’ double to center field, an unearned run in the second when Oliver singled in Padilla, who had reached on an error, and five in the fifth inning.

In the fifth, Wray reached on a two-base error by the third baseman and scored on another Willis double to center field. Sophomore Blake Yates was hit by a pitch and Alarcon walked to load the bases. Hendrix scored two on a seeing-eye single to left field to make it 5-0 and Alarcon, who reached third on an error by the left fielder, scored on starting pitcher Ryan Brown’s balk. Hendrix scored on Padilla’s ground out to first base when he took off for home on the throw to first. That would be it for the scoring for Bauxite until the three runs in the 11th inning to win.

The Miners’ starter Revas pitched five scoreless innings until Bauxite started the bottom of the sixth with an error, a fielder’s choice and a mental error that went for a hit to put two on and one out for Mikele Sumons. Sumons took Revas’ pitch over the right field wall for a three-run home run to get the Hornets within 7-3 and striking distance.

After striking out the first batter of the seventh looking, Revas gave up a double to the right-center field gap by Jacob Hollingsworth. Walker Culp singled to left to put runners on first and third, and Mattox brought in Wray for relief. Ryan McCollough hit a two-run double to the left-center field gap to make it a 7-5 game and an error by the shortstop Alarcon, who had just moved to short when Wray went in to pitch, put runners on first and third again. Sumons hit a short liner into center to score another to make it 7-6 and Wray struck out the next batter for the second out. Bahloul singled in the runner who reached on an error for an unearned run and a tie ballgame. The Miners got out of the inning when Brown grounded out to first base.

“We made some bad errors there late,” Mattox said. “We got to finish the game when [our pitchers are] getting ground balls and fly balls, we have to be able to do that.

“Hunter Wray came in and did a great job to come in and get us through it.”

Revas finished with the no-decision giving up five runs (four earned) on nine hits and two waks in six and one-third innings. He struck out three in 102 pitches. Wray got the win not allowing another run after the seventh. He gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and three walks in four and two-third innings and struck out five.

Wray also had a good day at the plate going 2 for 5 with two runs and Willis went 3 for 5 with two doubles and two RBIs. Hendrix went 1 for 5 with two runs and two RBIs, while Alarcon went 1 for 3 with two walks and a run. Padilla had two runs and an RBI without a hit.

For the Hornets, which outhit the Miners 13 to 10, Sumons went 3 for 6 with a home run and four RBIs. Bahloul pitched five and two-third innings of scoreless relief until giving up the three runs in the 11th.

Up next for the Miners will be the No. 3 seed DeQueen Leopards on Friday.
“We’re going to have to regroup and get ready for DeQueen,” Mattox said. “DeQueen is fresh. That’s the first thing I’m thinking of. They have every pitcher. They’re competitive and we’re going to have to get a lot of rest and get ready to go again, quick.”

First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. in Malvern.