Pitching duel ends with Miners' win

HASKELL – Neither team gave up a hit until the sixth inning, but the Bauxite Miners came out on top of the Harmony Grove Cardinals 6-2 on Friday night at Harmony Grove. It was tied 1-1 going into the seventh inning, but the Miners finally got to Cardinals’ senior starter Bodie Harris.

“We just had a different approach,” Bauxite Coach Michael Mattox said. “I’m not sure we solved him, we just had a better approach to stop swinging at high pitches and low pitches, waited for a good a good pitch and just drove it.

“That’s what she should have been doing from the get-go. That’s all it was. Just a change of approach.”

The Cardinals actually scored first in the bottom of the fifth without a hit. Catcher Zach Caplinger reached on Bauxite starting pitcher Ryan Weng’s throwing error to first base, and Caplinger ended up at third base. Weng attempted to pick Caplinger off, but another throwing error allowed Caplinger to score to put Harmony Grove up 1-0. After Weng hit his second batter of the game with a pitch, he struck out Brad Neighbors looking at an outside pitch and got a line out and fly out to get out of the inning.

The Miners (5-3), which have won three consecutive games, responded in the top of the sixth inning when senior center fielder Tim Dunlap reached on a swinging bunt single with one out. Harris hit senior shortstop Hunter Wray with a pitch to put runners at first and second, and junor catcher Tyler Willis singled the other way for an RBI single to right field allowing Dunlap to score to tie it, 1-1. Wray attempted to go to third base on the single, but the Cardinals had a good relay, Chris Hamilton to Neighbors to third baseman Aaron Arzt, who tagged Wray for the second out.

The Miners held the Cardinals scoreless in the bottom of the sixht and Harris walked junior right fielder Chris Revas to start the top of the seventh. Revas went to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior Zach Pratt, but then things fell apart for Harmony Grove.

Weng hit a short roller to third baseman and Revas got off to a slow start toward third base. The shortstop was covering third base and had Revas out at third, but Arzt threw the ball into left field for an error allowing Revas to score to give Bauxite the lead. Weng went to second on the error and to third on a ground out to shortstop. With two outs and a 2-1 lead, the Miners had four consecutive hits which led to four more runs, with none being earned.

“In high school baseball, you can’t expect more of what we got today,” Harmony Grove Coach Brandon Kelly said. “I got a great outing from my starter. They just got used to him. They saw him a couple of times.”

Harris threw 96 pitches in six and two-thirds innings giving up six runs (one earned) on six hits and three walks, while striking out five. Sophomore lefty Jordan Allred relieved for Harris and struck out Dylan Oliver.

“He’s a great senior leader for me,” Kelly said of Harris, “but when you see somebody enough, you finally get them pegged and you start hitting the baseball.”

Kelly said the Cardinals worked on bunt defenses for a long time the day before, but sometimes one error can mess you up.

“Sometimes you have to tip your hat to them,” he said of the Miners. “They started hitting the baseball and placing it where we weren’t. Coach Mattox does a great job with those guys and I commend Bauxite for the effort they gave.”

Weng started rough for the Miners as he walked and hit the first two batters he faced in the opening inning. He got some help though when Harris bounced into a 6-4-3 double play, and after his second walk of the inning, Weng got Arzt to pop out to the shortstop. Weng pitched a complete-game for the win, giving up two hits and an unearned run. He walked three and hit three batters, but struck out four.

“He came back,” Mattox said of Weng. “He had a bad first. He struggled. Then he settled in and competed. He ended up with 82 pitches and finished the game. I was impressed with that.”

Dunlap and Willis each ended up 2 for 4 with Dunlap scoring two runs and Willis knocking in two. Wray went 1 for 2 with a run and two RBIs, and sophomore Blake Yates went 1 for 3 with a run and an RBI.

For the Cardinals, sophomore Landen Lewis and Harris each went 1 for 3 with Lewis contributing an RBI on a double in the bottom of the seventh. Caplinger scored both runs for the Cardinals reaching on an error and a hit-by-pitch.