By Jason Avery
PARKERS CHAPEL - Too many miscues and a lack of timely hitting did in Parkers Chapel on Monday, as the Trojans fell to Crossett 10-4 in their season opener at Robert McKinnon Park.
Trent Pullin went 3-for-4 with three RBIs for the Eagles (1-0), who broke open a tie game with a five-run sixth inning that came on the heels of the Trojans squandering a bases-loaded, one-out scoring chance in the bottom of the fifth.
Five Parkers Chapel pitchers combined for 10 walks, and four errors also hurt.
Although the Trojans held the Eagles to five hits, three came in the decisive sixth inning.
“It was a good ballgame for the first five innings,” said Parkers Chapel coach Mark Looney said. “We left so many opportunities, especially in the third and fifth. We just didn’t cash in, and getting out of that big jam gave Crossett the momentum going into the sixth and the wheels kind of fell off of us a little bit. It’s hard to win ballgames when you walk 10, and then we made a few more mistakes than they did and they cashed in.”
The Eagles sent 11 men to the plate in the sixth, doing their damage first against Blake Wells, who relieved starter T.J. Bale at the outset of the fourth, and Michael Brotherton later.
Cody Kelley led off with a single and stole second to get into scoring position. Wells then fanned Deuce Hall, but the third strike was dropped, and Kelley was able to beat the throw to third to put runners at the corners.
Paul Edgar was then hit by a pitch to load the bases, prompting a pitching change.
Brotherton walked Kersh Hall to force in a run, and Bennett Holt followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 6-4.
With runners now at first and second, Dakota Fitch delivered an RBI single to right, but after making a big turn around first, Fitch found himself in a rundown.
However, Fitch was able to stay in the rundown long enough to allow Hall to score, and he was able to successfully retreat back to first base.
One out later, Pullin collected his third RBI single of the game to cap the scoring in the frame.
Kelley took matters over from there.
Starting the fourth in relief of Fitch, Crossett’s starter, Kelley allowed just two hits and one run in four innings of work to pick up the win. He walked five and struck out five. At the plate, he drew three walks along with his single in the sixth.
The game was a seesaw affair through five innings.
The Eagles opened the scoring with a run in the second on a two-out RBI single by Pullin that scored Fitch, who drew a one-out walk and went to third on an errant pickoff throw.
The Trojans promptly took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the second thanks to their underclassmen.
In his first varsity at-bat, Trace Shoup laced a single to left and took second on sophomore Colton Laster’s groundout to third.
One out later, Shoup scored on a throwing error on freshman Reid Cates’ grounder to shortstop to tie the game.
Cates took second on the miscue and scored moments later on sophomore Tyler Martin’s base hit to left-center to give the Trojans their first lead.
It wouldn’t last long.
The Eagles scored three runs in the third, taking advantage of four walks, a hit batsman and Pullin’s second RBI single to take a 4-2 lead.
The Trojans themselves were the beneficiaries of three free passes in the bottom of the third with Jordan Arrington’s walk bringing home T.J. Bale, who doubled to start the frame.
Parkers Chapel had the bases loaded again after Arrington’s walk, but Fitch avoided further trouble by retiring Cates on a fly out to right.
However, Parkers Chapel got back on even terms in the fourth.
Martin legged out a dribbler to third for an infield single to start the inning, and with Thomas Hardy at the plate, Martin was able to take third thanks to a wild throw on a pickoff attempt.
One out later, Martin crossed the plate on Bale’s RBI groundout to shortstop.
Parkers Chapel had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the fifth, loading the bases with one out, but Kelley fanned Martin and Hardy to get out of trouble, and the Eagles took the lead for good moments later in the sixth.
Wells suffered the loss after allowing three runs in two-plus innings of work. He allowed one hit, walked three, hit a batter and struck out five.
Bale allowed four runs and two hits in three innings. He walked five and struck out three.
Fitch allowed three hits and three runs in three innings of work. He walked four and struck out two.
Shoup finished 2-for-4 in his first game with the Trojans, and Martin was 2-for-3.
But while Looney was happy with the performance of his youngsters, there were some aspects he was not happy about.
“We didn’t battle back too well once we got down by five,” Looney said. “We still had the sixth and seventh to go. We didn’t battle back, but we will in the future. It was a great learning experience. A lot of young guys got to play their first high school baseball game, and some of them did really, really well.
“I thought Trace Shoup did a good job for us in the four spot. We’re going to get better. As young as we are, we just got to get some games under our belts and get settled in and cash in on opportunities when they present themselves.”
MINERAL SPRINGS 0
SMACKOVER - The Bucks (1-0) rolled to a win in their season opener, scoring 11 runs in the first and 17 in the second.
Cade Schibler allowed one hit in three scoreless innings of work to pick up the win. He walked one and struck out six.
Schibler also helped himself at the plate by going 1-for-2 with an RBI.
Noah Wilson was 1-for-2 with two RBIs, as was Jordan Brock.
Jackson Cook had a two-run triple in the win for Smackover.
Baylor Brumley and Tucker Evans each drew three walks and combined to score seven runs.