The large crowd at Benton High’s baseball stadium Tuesday night probably thought they were going to see a tight, tense Class 4A second-round game between the Benton Tigers and the Northwood Falcons.
After all, the teams had split their District 1-4A meetings with Northwood winning by one and Benton by two.
But it certainly didn’t turn out that way.
Benton scored 10 runs in the first inning en route to a 12-0 victory that ended after five innings because of the 10-run rule.
The No. 4 seed Tigers (28-8) will host No. 5 St. Michael the Archangel (23-9) in the quarterfinals Monday at 4 p.m.
St. Michael defeated No. 12 Eunice 8-6 in the second round Tuesday.
Benton coach J.D. Stephens couldn’t have predicted 10 runs in the first inning, but he’s not surprised the Tigers started fast.
“All week we’ve had good (batting practices),” Stephens said. “Our guys have kept up the focus. They’re locked in as much as I’ve seen them locked in all year as far as focus.
“And then in the first inning, they let our approach take control. (Jordan) Shaffer got a double to start the game. Northwood helped us out with some walks and errors. Our guys continued to stay in the strike zone, took hit by pitches. And when they made mistakes over the plate then we got the timely hits. We took advantage of the opportunities which is what I wanted to see from our guys.”
As well as Shaffer was pitching, the Tigers may have needed just one run to win. Shaffer, a Northwestern State signee, pitched a no-hitter with six strikeouts.
Wade Grubbs went 2-for-3, including a two-run single that made it 7-0 in the first inning. Cameron Horton had a two-run triple to make it 9-0.
The Tigers got also hits from Aaron Henigan and Taylor Ward in the first inning. Peyton Leflett had a sacrifice fly.
Northwood, the No. 13 seed, used three pitchers in the inning. They hit three batters and issued two walks. The Falcons also committed an error.