Sunday, March 4, 2018
BENTONVILLE -- Bentonville got offense up and down the lineup and Austin Gottula was solid on the mound to lead the Tigers to a 7-2 win Saturday at the Tiger Athletic Complex.
Nathan Lyons went 2-for-4 including a two-run home run, while leadoff man Kam'Ron Mays Hunt added three hits and scored twice for the Tigers (3-0).
But Gottula kept the Wampus Cats off-balance most of the day, allowing just two runs on two hits over five innings. The senior struck out five and walked three.
Gottula retired the first nine Conway hitters, but the Wampus Cats loaded the bases with two walks sandwiched around Jack Stroth's single. However, he got back-to-back infield pop-ups before Colby Cormell drew a bases-loaded walk to pull Conway within 4-1.
Clay Tollett followed with an RBI single to right, but freshman Keegan Allen threw out the runner at the plate to end the inning.
Bentonville coach Todd Abbott was pleased with Gottula's composure after Conway loaded the bases with nobody out in the fourth, but limited the damage.
"That bases-loaded, no-outs situation, he made a pitch and they didn't get a good swing on it," Abbott said. "That was great. Austin did an outstanding job. That was a beautiful outing for him. We're really excited for him and we had a huge throw from Keegan.
"We got guys down at the bottom of our lineup that had good at-bats. Really it was collectively up and down the lineup today. When we needed someone to step up they put the ball in play and we were able to make something happen."
Conway coach Noel Boucher was impressed with Gottula as well.
"He spotted the ball well and had a good breaking ball today," Boucher said.
Devin Hearn and Ryan Kneeshaw each tossed a scoreless inning for Bentonville.
Sam Golden also went 2-for-3 and drove in a run for the Tigers, who banged out 12 hits.
The Tigers got all the offense it would need in a three-run bottom of the third keyed by Lyons' two-run homer. Bentonville scored another thanks to a Conway error. They added three more in the fifth. Kneeshaw had a sacrifice fly and Hunter Hook came with an RBI-single.
Boucher said his team has been limited with practice time because of heavy rain and flooding in central Arkansas, but games like this will only help his team improve.
"Just getting out of the box and what I mean by that is just starting to plate," Boucher said. "Lots to learn and we're shifting lots of people around making sure everyone gets a chance."
Boucher said he expects better days from his junior starter Baker Kendrick, who allowed four runs (three earned) over three innings.
"He'll throw better," Boucher said. "Same thing, we've been in the gym a lot. He's a young junior. He'll do fine."
Bentonville will take on Cabot at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville on Monday.
Bentonville High 7, Conway 2
Conway 000 200 0 -- 2 2 1
Bentonville 103 030 x -- 7 12 2
Kendrick, Hreha (4), Martindale (6) and Stroth; Gottula, Hearn (6) and Golden. W-Gottula, 1-0. L-Kendrick, 0-1. HRs-Bentonville, Lyons (1).
Bentonville West 5, Conway 4
Carter Bourg threw four scoreless innings of relief and the Wolverines rallied from a 4-0 deficit to remain undefeated.
The Wolverines (3-0) scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead aided by two Conway errors.
Joey Aden and Rogers Alexander led the West offense with two hits each.
The Wampus Cats (1-2) put two on with nobody out in the top of the seventh thanks a single and a walk, but West catcher Dylan Carter picked off a Conway runner at first to help Bourg work out of trouble.
Bourg allowed just one hit, struck out three and walked three over four scoreless innings to picked up the win.
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