HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Sophomore left-hander Wyatt Gibson silenced Lake Hamilton’s bats, while teammate Ethan Cevela drove in four runs with a home run and double Thursday at Lakeside as the unbeaten Rams beat their rival, 7-2.
The Wolves (7-2) got off to a good start with runs in the first and third for a 2-1 advantage. They did waste a scoring opportunity in the fourth after Weston Dobyns tripled to right-center with two outs. Lakeside shortstop Peyton Ballard stranded Dobyns with a brillliant play behind second, and throwing to first for the third out.
Lakeside (7-0) captured the lead in the fifth when Brennan Browning walked, and scored two outs later on Cevela’s long homer over the fence in left-center against a stiff 17 mile-per-hour breeze (360 feet).
Cevela shines at the plate for Lakeside
“Wyatt did a fantastic job of throwing strikes all day,” said 29-year-old winning coach Garrett Bock. “He competed all day. Lake Hamilton is a fantastic team, very well coached.
“Ethan is the ultimate competitor. He’s going to have a long career at the next level. We started slow at the plate, but once we started identifying pitches we were a lot better off. Carson Harris (Wolves’ starting pitcher) has a fantastic arm. We were lucky that he struggled a bit with his command.”
The hard-throwing Harris came into Thursday’s game with 17 strikeouts in nine innings. He walked five and hit two Rams, scattering five hits and striking out six. It’s possible the wind and temperature was a factor for all the players.
The Rams pulled away in the bottom of the sixth.
Lake Hamilton coach praises Rams
Will Ross was hit by a pitch, and Ethan Rogers legged out a bunt to start the sixth frame. Ross was forced out at third on Brock Prince’s grounder. One out later Ballard lined a two-run single to center. Cevela followed with a drive over the centerfielder’s head for a two-run double.
“It’s a little early in the season, and Carson probably got a little tired, ” said Lake Hamilton coach Matt Weigand. “I wanted to see what he did in the middle innings. You’ve got to give Lakeside a lot of credit. They competed hard, and got their bats going late. They’ve got some really good hitters in the middle of their lineup.
“I thought our hitters got a little tentative at the plate. Gibson threw two pitches for strikes (fastball and curve). He really kept us off balance. I’ve got a junior and senior heavy team. I think we’ll be fine, but we took it on the chin tonight.”
Lakeside will be back in action next Friday at the Henderson State University tournament. The Wolves play Pine Bluff on March 30.