Leader Blues

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

SPORTS>>Langley’s long ball in sixth gives Lions edge against Eagles

Leader sportswriter

Searcy first baseman Zach Langley hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning Friday to thwart a potential Vilonia comeback and help Searcy to a 9-3, non-conference victory at Vilonia City Park.

Langley smashed a 2-1 pitch from Tyler Berry to stretch the Lions’ lead to 8-3 after the Eagles had cut the deficit to two.

“That was a big hit for Zach Langley,” Searcy coach Clay McCammon said. “And if I’m not mistaken, they had bases loaded and two outs the inning before that. We made a couple of good pitches that inning, and then Zach comes up and gets the big hit.

That definitely took some pressure off of us.”

The Eagles threatened to take over in the bottom of the fifth when catcher Hunter Henderson and Cameron DiMatteo singled and Zack Mitchell was hit by a pitch to load the bases. But Searcy reliever Preston Tarkington got Drew Knowles to ground out andleave all three runners stranded.

Searcy starter Chris Bond led off the top of the sixth with a single to center, and pinch hitter Mike Brown beat out a bunt for a single to set up Langley’s three-run homer.

The Lions scored their final run in the seventh on a bases-loaded walk.

Langley was 2 of 4 with a home run and four RBI. Jared Haggard was 2 of 5 with a double and an RBI and Dillon Howard was 2 of 4 with two runs scored.

“I thought we pitched well and defensively played pretty well,” McCammon said. “We made some mental mistakes throughout the game that we’ve got to get corrected, but I can’t fault the effort of our guys. I thought they played hard.”

Bond earned the victory for Searcy with four strikeouts and one hit in three innings, while Tarkington struck out five and gave up two hits through four innings.

“Our pitchers have thrown well all year long,” McCammon said. “We’re ready to start stretching them out a little bit and getting them more pitches. We feel like we’re ready for conference. Like most years, as the season goes on, we feel like we’re going to swing the bats better.”

Haggard led off the first with a double down the third base line and scored two batters later off a passed ball that walked Tarkington.

The cleanup hitter Howard moved Tarkington to second with an infield single, but Hayden Mercer grounded into a force play at third for the second out. Dillon scored when B.J. Slaughter stole second as the throw from Henderson was too high.