The Arkansas Leader

Titans outlast NLR Wildcats

Jacksonville baseball team gets win over North Little Rock at Joe T. Robinson High on Saturday.

Jacksonville met with nearby North Little Rock in the Central Arkansas Invitational on Saturday at Joe T. Robinson High School. The Titans scored the game’s first five runs and then held its advantage throughout for a 6-2 victory.
Later than same day, the Jackrabbits got another win to close out the tournament by beating Southside-Bee Branch 5-2.
Jacksonville senior pitcher Riley Malone held the defending 6A state champions to just four base hits until he left with two outs in the sixth inning. Playing as the visiting team, Jacksonville grabbed the lead quickly in the top of the first inning.
It could have been worse if not for North Little Rock pitcher Chance White entering the game and striking out the side with the bases loaded. The first four batters reached base on two walks and two base hits before White took the mound. Leadoff hitter Dre Bingham walked before Clay Burrows and Ryan Ready singled to load the bases. Jaylon McGee then walked to drive in the game’s first run.
White struck out the next two batters before walking Justin Thomas to drive in another run. White then fanned the next batter to get out of the inning.
The Charging Wildcats did not get a base hit for the first two innings, and Jacksonville added three more runs to its lead in the top of the third.
After White struck out Ready to start the third, McGee and Randy Davis walked. Alex Moss doubled to left field on the next at-bat but didn’t record an RBI because both runners had already crossed the plate. Before Moss laced his line drive, McGee took third on a passed ball and scored on an errant throw to third. Davis then also scored on a passed ball.
Moss moved to third on a groundout by Thomas. Jarius Edwards then singled to score the runner and put the Titans up 5-0. Brendan Bailey got North Little Rock’s first base hit to start the bottom of the third inning.
He was replaced on first base by Kole McMahan, who stole second base after one pitch. Wesley Bird then grounded out to shortstop and McMahan moved to third. Trevor Flake then grounded to short to score McMahan.
With two out and nobody on, the Charging Wildcats went right back to work for another run. Gage Sorensen singled on a line drive to center field before Jordan Kelly doubled to left to put runners on the second and third. Brody Bunting walked to load the bases. Sorenson then scored on a wild pitch before Malone got Caleb Bryant to ground out and end the inning.
The fourth and fifth innings saw both teams combine for one base runner, a single by White to start the fifth.
The Titans got the final run in the top of the sixth after Thomas hit a leadoff double to center field. He was still at second with two outs when Bingham got an RBI single to left to set the final margin.
Six different Titans got one base hit apiece, with Moss and Thomas going for extra bases.
Malone allowed two earned runs on four hits with two strikeouts and one walk. White pitched three innings after inheriting a bases-loaded, no outs situation in the top of the first. He allowed three runs on two hits with five strikeouts and three walks.
Bryant pitched the last four innings, giving up just two hits and one earned run with three strikeouts and one walk.
Against Southside-Bee Branch, Lonoke got two runs in the first, two in the third and one in the fourth before SBB finally got on the board in the sixth.
The first two runs came after Burrows got a one-out single. Ready sent the first pitch of his at bat over the fence in left field for a two-RBI home run.
Edwards drew a leadoff walk in the third inning and Bingham followed with a base hit. With one out, Ready scorched a ground ball to third base where it was mishandled, allowing Edwards to score. McGee then got an RBI single that drove in Bingham for a 4-0 Titan lead. In the fourth inning, Thomas walked before Malone and Moss were both hit by pitches to load the bases. Thomas then scored on a passed ball.
A single by Grant Holland and a home run by Jason Johnson gave SBB their two runs.
Bingham started on the mound and got the win. He had a rough start, walking the first three batters of the game, but he pulled it together and dominated the rest of his four innings on the mound. He picked off one base runner before getting back-to-back strikeouts in the first.
He then struck out the side in the second and fanned the first batter of the third for six-consecutive strikeouts. He finished his four innings with just one base hit to go with eight strikeouts and four total walks.
Ready pitched the fifth inning. Thomas pitched the sixth and Seth Gray got the save in the seventh.
Jacksonville (8-4) is scheduled to host Joe T. Robinson in a nonconference game on Friday.

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