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Oilers roll past Batesville at state tournament

by News-Times Staff | July 24, 2021 at 4:00 p.m.

CONWAY – Another day, another double-digit performance by the El Dorado Oilers’ bats.

Ashton Yarbrough had three hits and drove in three runs and the Oilers got at least one hit from nine players in a 10-0 mercy-rule win over Batesville at the Arkansas American Legion AAA Senior State Tournament Saturday at Central Arkansas’ Bear Park.

The win sends the Oilers (26-8-1) to the semifinals of the winner’s bracket where Sheridan awaits for a Sunday showdown beginning at 5 p.m.

The win over Batesville was the 13th of the season for the Oilers in which they have scored 10 or more runs in a game.

The Oilers also got outstanding pitching performances from Josh Saulsbury and John Robert Burson, who combined on a three-hit shutout.

The Oilers scored a run in the first to grab an early lead before breaking the game open with a four-run third.

Tyler Johnson got the Oilers going in the first with a double to left-center.

He stole third base and scored the game’s first run on Jacob Eubanks’ sacrifice fly to left.

Getting big hits with two outs was crucial in the Oilers’ win over Fort Smith on Friday, and they scored three of their four runs in the third with two outs.

Sawyer Cropper led off with a single, but was erased from the basepaths on AJ Alsobrook’s fielder’s choice.

Alsobrook stole second and scored moments later on Tanner McLelland’s double off the fence in left-center to give the Oilers a 2-0 lead.

One out later, Eubanks, who homered in Friday’s win, laced a single to center to bring home McLelland to extend the lead to 3-0.

Yarbrough then continued his big day, launching a triple to the warning track to score Eubanks.

Hunter Lawrence drove in the Oilers’ final run of the frame by legging out an infield single to third that scored Yarbrough to make it 5-0.

The Oilers scored a run in the fourth with Rhett Richardson drawing a walk and stealing both second and third base before scoring on a double down the right-field line by Alsobrook.

The Oilers put the game away by scoring twice in the fifth and sixth innings.

As was the case in the third, the Oilers did their damage with two outs.

Yarbrough delivered a one-out single to right, and one out later, Burson lined a triple off the fence in right-center to score Yarbrough to give the Oilers a 7-0 lead.

Richardson followed with a run-scoring single to right to push the lead to 8-0.

In the sixth, the Oilers continued to deliver with two outs.

With one out, McLelland was hit by a pitch and Johnson walked to put runners at first and second.

One out later, Yarbrough drove the first pitch he saw off the fence in left-center for a two-run triple, his third hit of the game.

Yarbrough’s triple gave the Oilers their sixth and seventh runs of the game with two outs, and they have scored 12 of their 22 runs in the state tournament with two two outs.

Burson then worked a scoreless bottom of the sixth to end the game via the sportsmanship rule.

Saulsbury (5-1) allowed two hits in four shutout innings to pick up the win. He struck out seven and didn’t issue any walks.

Burson allowed one hit and one walk in two scoreless frames in relief to finish off the win.

The Oilers matched their hit total from Friday’s win, finishing with 11 in the contest.

Two of Yarbrough’s three hits were triples, and the Oilers had three in the game with Burson’s aforementioned RBI triple in the fifth.

Of the 22 hits the Oilers have racked up in the state tournament, 10 have been extra-base hits, including six in Saturday’s win.

Seven Oilers had at least one RBI in the win with Eubanks joining Yarbrough with a multi-RBI game by driving in two runs.

The Oilers have also been busy on the basepaths, registering 13 stolen bases in two games with Lawrence leading the way with five.

Sunday’s clash against Sheridan will be the fifth between the Oilers and Yellowjackets this summer.

The Oilers have won three of the four meetings, including a doubleheader sweep last Sunday at Parkers Chapel.

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