The Benton Tigers completed an impressive District 1-4A sweep of the North DeSoto Griffins with a 10-0, five-inning victory Saturday afternoon in Stonewall.
Benton (11-11, 4-0), which defeated North DeSoto 8-1 in Game 1 Friday, came into the series No. 15 in the latest Class 4A power rankings released Wednesday by the LHSAA. North DeSoto (14-7, 2-2) came into the series No. 4 in the power rankings and riding a seven-game winning streak.
In District 1-5A play Saturday, leader Airline defeated Southwood 9-4 at Southwood, Haughton fell to Byrd 12-6 at Byrd’s field at LSUS and Parkway defeated Captain Shreve 12-10 in 10 innings at Shreve.
Airline improved to 20-4 overall and 6-1 in 1-5A. Byrd (17-8, 7-2) is in second followed by Captain Shreve (14-12, 4-3), Evangel Christian (8-17, 4-4), Haughton (14-10, 3-4), Parkway (8-15, 2-7) and Southwood (7-13, 1-6).
At Stonewall, Benton’s Jackson Rutledge, an Arkansas signee, pitched an outstanding five innings, allowing just four hits, striking out 10 and walking only one.
Cody Norris went 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Garrett Hable went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI. Conner Jack Smith had two hits and two RBI. Sam Simmons had two doubles.
The Tigers got off to a good start offensively for the second straight day, scoring three in the first.
Wade Grubbs smacked the first pitch of the game over the right field fall. Tanner Craft reached on an error, advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on Taylor Ward’s bunt. Craft scored on an error. Ward advanced to third on Simmons’ fly ball and scored on a Smith single.
The Tigers added another run in the third. Simmons doubled to centerfield with one out, advanced to third on a balk and scored on a Simmons’ sacrifice fly.
Benton scored two more in the fourth. With runners at first and second, Tanner Craft hit a line drive to right field. Legend Denler and Grubbs scored on an error.
The Tigers reached the 10-run mark with four in the fifth. Simmons led off with a double and advanced to third on Smith’s bunt single. Hable scored Simmons and Smith with a double to left.
Norris brought Hable home with a double to center field, making it 9-0. Norris advanced to third on a Coleman Nerren single and scored on Grubbs’ groundout to second.
Rutledge got two groundouts and a strikeout to end the game via the 10-run mercy rule.
At Southwood, Airline left-hander Cameron Taylor improved to 5-0. He allowed two hits in five innings and struck out seven.
Cameron Parikh went 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI. Jonathan Brandon had two hits, including a double. Austin Zickefoose had a double and two RBI. Trey Daniel had a double.
At Shreve, the Panthers and Gators combined for 29 hits, according to official Parkway stats.
Eric Williams led Parkway, going 3-for-6 with three RBI. Amani Larry and Christian Rayner had two hits and an RBI each. Matthew McKee had two hits, including a double, and an RBI. All told, eight Panthers had hits.
Shreve’s Kyle Koch went 5-for-6 and Anthony Stallcup was 4-for-5.
Parkway led 7-3 in the middle of the fourth after scoring three in the second, two in the third and two in the fourth. Shreve rallied with three in the bottom of the fourth and one in the fifth to tie it at 7.
The Panthers regained the lead with two in the sixth, but the Gators sent it into extra innings with two in the seventh.
Parkway grabbed a 10-9 lead with one in the ninth thanks to an error on a hard hit ball to first by Eric Brown. But Captain Shreve tied it again with a two-out RBI single.
Ryan Black, Larry and Williams had consecutive singles to load the bases in the 10th. Mason Whatley was hit by a pitch, scoring Black. With two outs, Derious Bradford was hit by a pitch, scoring Larry.
Matthew McKee, who pitched the final five innings for the win, got the first two outs in the bottom of the 10th on fly balls. After a single, Koch flied out to Bradford in center field to finally end the game.
At LSUS, Haughton’s Tyler Davis went 3-for-4 with a triple and three RBI. Jeremiah Wilson hit a solo home run.
The Bucs trailed 7-3 after three innings but closed the gap to one with three in the fourth. It stayed that way until the sixth when the Yellow Jackets blew the game open with five runs.
NOTE: The above report is based on box scores and play-by-plays on teams’ official GameChanger accounts and information received from coaches.