Leader Blues

Friday, May 22, 2009

SPORTS >> Crabill’s bat, arm lands him MVP at Metro Classic

By KELLY FENTON
Leader sports editor

If the Arkansas Activities Association decides to use the Metro Classic games as a criteria in their next classification realignment, Abundant Life could well end up in 7A.

Less than two months after Abundant Life’s Hannah Pastor and Dane Lottner picked up MVP honors at the Metro Classic basketball games, fellow Owl Austin Crabill earned the award at the Metro Classic baseball game.

Crabill helped the Southwest spring a mild 7-6 upset over the Northeast with a pair of singles, a stolen base and two innings of relief that earned him the save at Gary Hogan Field in Little Rock.

Crabill entered the contest in the sixth inning and helped keep a two-out rally alive with a single on the first offering from Jacksonville’s Seth Tomboli. A walk and a hit batter plated a run that extended Southwest’s lead to 6-4. Crabill also beat out an infield single in the eighth.

He came on in relief in the eighth inning and got the first two batters before Sylvan Hills’ Casey Cerrato lined a single to right. Crabill walked the next batter but got out of the jam with a fly out.

Northeast rallied with a run in the bottom of the ninth to cut the lead to 7-6, but Crabill got Jacksonville’s Terrell Brown on a fly ball to right with the game-tying run at third base.

It looked like it would be a romp for Northeast when Sylvan Hills’ D.J. Baxendale and CAC’s Bryan Biggerstaff faced the minimum number of batters through the first four innings. The first batter reached on an error to open the game, but Tomboli turned a sinking line drive into right field into a double play.

Baxendale then set down the next four he faced, and Biggerstaff came in to strike out five of the six batters he faced.

Northeast got a run in the first and Sylvan Hills’ Tyler Van Schoyck delivered a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 in the third.

In the fourth, Sylvan Hills’ Blake Evans and Jacksonville’s Tommy Sanders drew walks and eventually came around to score on an error and a double.

Jacksonville’s Michael Harmon came on in the fifth with a 4-0 lead and struggled, though he wasn’t helped much by his defense, which committed a couple of errors that led to five runs — three unearned. Harmon, who took the loss, allowed three hits and two walks in the inning as Southwest took a 5-4 lead.

North Pulaski’s A.J. Allen grounded a leadoff single up the middle in the fifth but was left stranded. Southwest made it 6-4 with a run in the sixth, but three singles in the bottom half narrowed the gap to 6-5. Terrell Brown made a bid to tie the game with a sharp grounder, but right at the shortstop.

Evans and fellow Bear Nathan Eller each recorded a pair of strikeouts over an inning of work.

Biggerstaff earned MVP honors for the Northeast. North Little Rock’s Cody Grace went 3 of 3.