BENTON, Ar. — It was the last thing some 5A South baseball fans were expecting with Lake Hamilton and El Dorado tied for first place. Sheridan played El Dorado, while Lake Hamilton and White Hall clashed Friday at the Benton Athletic Center.
The game was played in Benton because recent rain left White Hall’s field unplayable.
The Wolves lost to White Hall, 5-2, and Sheridan trounced the Wildcats, 9-3. Those results left Sheridan, El Dorado and Lake Hamilton as tri-champions in 5A South at 10-4. White Hall finishes at 9-5. All four team qualified for the state tournament. Unfortunately for the Wolves, they will be a three seed and will likely draw Jonesboro or Marion in the first round.
Poor defense by Lake Hamilton, and outstanding pitching (Ryan Ursery and Aidan Harrell) and perfect defense earned White Hall (14-10, 9-5) its big win. The Wolves managed only two hits in the game, and committed five errors.
“Their pitchers threw strikes, and they had no errors,” said a disappointed Lake Hamilton coach Matthew Weigand. “Our pitcher (Matthew Carmack) was phenomenal, but when you have five errors in the field, you can’t expect to win, especially on a turf field where there are no bad hops.
“We had too many bad at-bats and missed opportunities. It was hard to get anything going offensively when that happens.”
White Hall was opportunistic Friday
Despite the errors and lack of offense, Lake Hamilton was fighting for the lead until the sixth inning. The Bulldogs turned a one-run (3-2) advantage into three with the help of two infield errors.
Trailing 2-0, the hitless Wolves manufactured a run in the fourth on two walks, a passed ball, and grounder to second by Hayden Estrada. Noah Smith doubled and scored in the bottom of the fourth to answer that run. Smith tripled in the first inning, scoring on Shane Songer’s double.
Ursery was replaced by Harrell in the fifth. Easton Hurley spoiled White Hall’s no-hit bid with a triple over the right fielder’s head. He scored one our later on Dylan Horton’s blistering single to left. That was it for the Wolves on offense.
A crafty southpaw, Ursery walked four and struck out five, while holding the Wolves hitless for four innings. Harrell hit two batters and struck out five.