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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Heber rallies in Game 2, sweeps Southerners

  • Michael Ludwig launched three home runs in Thursday’s 2-4A conference doubleheader at Southside Batesville, including a game-winning homer in the extra-inning nightcap, sparking the Heber Springs Panthers to a sweep (13-3, 10-8) of the Southerners.

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  • Michael Ludwig launched three home runs in Thursday’s 2-4A conference doubleheader at Southside Batesville, including a game-winning homer in the extra-inning nightcap, sparking the Heber Springs Panthers to a sweep (13-3, 10-8) of the Southerners.
    In Game 1, the Panthers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, added another run in the second, two in both the third and fourth and five in the fifth. Southside scored all three of its runs in the third inning.
    The Panthers pounded out 13 hits while Ludwig struck out five batters and held Southside to six hits. Both teams only committed one error.
    Offensively, Ludwig and Flippin, who finished with a team-high 5 RBIs, both had home runs. Harley Hooten was 3-for-4 with 3 RBIs.
    Heber Coach Darren Gowen said the Panthers had to overcome some difficult conditions, especially in the second game. “We got down 6-0 early, had some rain issues and had to sit out and the field was a little sloppy. They overcame a small strike zone and just kept battling back. We were able to take the lead and then they tied it and we scored one again. I’ve got a lot of confidence when [spots] three and four come up in the lineup. Michael Ludwig had an incredible night and Paden Flippin did too. And, we had some people step up in front and behind them that were able to help and we scored a lot more runs than we have been. Michael Kramer hit the ball hard tonight and Derrik Fisher hit the ball well tonight,” added Gowen.
    Trailing 6-2 in Game 2, Heber chipped away at its deficit as Hooten drilled a two-run home run and the Panthers eventually tied the game when Fisher delivered an RBI base hit. Down by one again in the top of the seventh, Ludwig came through in the clutch, launching a two-run home run, which pushed Heber in front, 8-7.
    The Southerners tied the game in the bottom of the seventh and the score remained tied at 8-all until the top of the ninth, when Ludwig roped his third home run ¬ a two-run shot that scored Brooks Morgan, who led off with a single.
    “He [Michael Ludwig] is our leader. This field may not be the biggest park but the one he hit in the seventh inning would have been out of any park we play at and then he took the next one to the opposite field to give us the ultimate win,” said Gowen. “Mike is a player and that’s why he will be playing college ball next year. As he goes we go. This was a big night for us. Harley Hooten hit the ball well in the first game and hit a home run in the second game.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Geoffrey Anderson pitched the middle innings in relief, holding the Southerners to only one run as the Panthers mounted a rally. “Geoffrey came in down 6-4 and kept it right there for a long time. Then, Paden came in for the last inning was able to strike out their two best hitters and got a ground ball to end the game,” Gowen said.
    With the sweep of Southside, the Panthers improved to 4-4 in conference play heading into this week’s slate of games. Heber lost to Harding Academy 11-3 on Monday, falling to 6-9 overall entering Tuesday’s game at Mayflower.
    Heber travels to Clinton on Friday for a 2-4A conference doubleheader and the Panthers visit Conway Christian next Tuesday before returning home on Friday, April 20 for a conference doubleheader versus Cave City.
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