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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Heber breaks out broom on Cavemen

  • Trailing 10-2 in Game 2 of a 2-4A conference doubleheader, Heber Springs rallied with four runs in the third inning and seven more in the fourth on its way to completing a sweep of the Cave City Cavemen on Monday at Panther Field. Heber cruised to an 11-1, five-inning victory in the first game, which started last Friday but was suspended due to rain.

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  • Trailing 10-2 in Game 2 of a 2-4A conference doubleheader, Heber Springs rallied with four runs in the third inning and seven more in the fourth on its way to completing a sweep of the Cave City Cavemen on Monday at Panther Field. Heber cruised to an 11-1, five-inning victory in the first game, which started last Friday but was suspended due to rain.
    However, it was a bittersweet feeling for the Panthers. They lost standout shortstop Paden Flippin, who dislocated his knee while planting to stop after rounding third base early in the second game. Flippin, a junior, is out for the season.
    “I feel so bad for Paden it’s just a freak thing,” said Panther Coach Darren Gowen. “He is a great kid and you hate to see that happen to anybody. He is a leader on our team but I’m proud of the way the kids battled. After it happened we kinda hung our head a little bit and got behind but like I told them, ‘I wanted to throw up too.’ But, they battled back and hit the ball. That’s what we need to do going into the district tournament.”
    The Panthers open the district tournament against host Newport today at 5 p.m. “I didn’t pitch Mike [Ludwig] and I haven’t pitched him in a while so his arm is fresh. We’ve got to win one game. We’ve got to beat Newport at least so we can continue playing. Losing Paden is going to be a blow but I go back to our football season when we lost a couple of guys we had people step in. I think we have resilient kids and somebody will step in there for him. You can’t replace him with one person, so we will have to have several people step in. With Mike throwing I think we will have a good chance,” added Gowen.
    In Game 1, Heber fell behind 1-0 in the top of the first inning but answered with four runs in the bottom half as Harley Hooten drove an RBI triple to centerfield, Ludwig added an RBI double and then Ludwig scored on a double steal with Brooks Morgan, who singled.
    Derrik Fisher dove home Morgan with an RBI single, giving the Panthers a 4-1 lead going into the second. Heber added two more in the second inning on a 2 RBI double from Flippin while Morgan, Heber’s starting pitcher, stifled the Cavemen in the second and third, leaving the Panthers with a 6-1 lead when the game was suspended due to rain.
    The Panthers picked up where they left off Monday as Morgan retired Cave City in order in the fourth and Heber tacked on a pair of runs in the bottom half. After Flippin roped a one-out double down the left field line, he scored when Morgan scorched a two-out double to the gap in left center.
    Page 2 of 4 - Fisher crushed an RBI double deep down the left field line, scoring Morgan as the Panthers pushed their lead to 8-1 before Cave City pitcher Joey Barnett got out of the inning.
    Morgan pitched around two walks and an error in the top of the fifth, leaving the bases loaded when he retired Barnett on a fly-ball to Ludwig camped in center. In the bottom half, Heber ended the game by run-rule with three runs on three hits, starting when Judson Smith lined a triple into the right field corner.
    With two out, Ludwig walked then Flippin smashed an RBI single to left field, scoring Smith. Micheal Kramer followed with a 2 RBI single to right field, plating Ludwig and Flippin as Heber rolled to an 11-1 victory.
    In Game 2, Cave City took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a 2 RBI double off the bat of Barnett. Heber sliced its deficit in half in the bottom of the frame as Geoffrey Anderson walked and eventually scored on a two-out throwing error. Flippin came around third hard on the play before his knee buckled, making the Panthers concede the third out.
    Cave City added five runs on four hits in the second, including RBI singles from Barnett and Devin Burns, whose single through the hole left side scored Barnett for a 7-1 lead. Kramer, Heber’s starting pitcher, minimized the damage by retiring Justin Ramos on a pop-out back to the mound, leaving the bases loaded.
    The Panthers scratched across a run in the bottom of the second as Morgan took one for the team and scored on an RBI single off the bat of Nathan Martz, who found a hole on the left side. With one out and runners at first and second, Cave City shortstop Taylor Milligan turned a 6-U-3 double play, keeping his team’s lead at 7-2.
    Facing relief pitcher Jackson Thomas, the Cavemen added three insurance runs in the top of the third as Heber committed three errors. Alec Piazza’s RBI, sacrifice-fly to center scored Barnett, who singled with one out. With Cave City leading 10-2, Thomas escaped further trouble by retiring Ramos on a fly-ball to Ludwig in center, leaving the bases loaded.
    Heber kept plugging away, scoring four runs on three hits in the bottom of the third. Hooten led off with a single past first base and into right field but Cave City recorded two outs before Kramer beat out an infield single. Then, Morgan sent a grounder to second, causing a throwing error that allowed Tyler Dennis, who reached on a fielder’s choice, to score from second.
    After Fisher was hit-by-a-pitch and Martz drew an RBI walk that scored Kramer, Cave City replaced starting pitcher Trenton Coles with Clayton Pounds. Smith greeted Pounds by smoking a 2 RBI double to the alley in right center, scoring Morgan and Fisher as the Panthers pulled within four at 10-6.
    Page 3 of 4 - Cave City dodged further damage when Burns made a backpedaling, twisting catch in left field on a fly-ball off the bat of Anderson, leaving two runners stranded in scoring position.
    Cave City added a run in the fourth as Coles reached on an error and scored on an RBI groundout from Milligan. Now trailing 11-6 entering the bottom of the fourth, Heber scored seven runs aided by three hit batsmen, three walks and three hits.
    Hooten and Ludwig each took one for the team to start the frame then Dennis beat out a well-placed bunt single. Kramer walked for an RBI that scored courtesy runner Waren Thomas Olmstead then Morgan lifted an RBI, sacrifice-fly to center, scoring Ludwig as Heber closed the gap to three at 11-8.
    After Fisher was hit-by-a-pitch, Cave City switched pitchers only to see Martz work a full-count, RBI walk that scored Dennis. Smith added an RBI, sacrifice-fly to left field that scored Kramer then Anderson roped an RBI double to the alley in deep left center, scoring Fisher as the Panthers tied the game a at 11-all.
    Hooten followed with a 2 RBI single to left field that plated Martz and Anderson as Heber suddenly took a 13-11 advantage before the Cavemen got out of the fourth, leaving runners stranded at first and second.
    Cave City tied the game with two runs in the top of the fifth but it could have been much worse. With the Panthers clinging to a 13-12 lead and the bases loaded, Coles sent a hooking liner down the left field line, where Morgan made a spectacular diving grab as he laid out parallel to the ground. Burns scored on Coles’ line drive RBI but Morgan saved at least two runs and Heber got out of the inning when Hooten gunned down Trevor Hatfield trying to steal second.
    Tied at 13-all, Heber reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the fifth as Kramer walked, Morgan drilled a single to left field and the Panthers pulled off a double steal before Fisher’s RBI, sacrifice-fly to left field scored Kramer.
    Martz followed with a single through the hole on left side then Smith drove home Morgan with an RBI, sacrifice-fly to right field as the Panthers took a 15-13 lead before the Cavemen got out of the fifth.
    Anderson, who relieved Thomas in the middle of the fourth, pitched a scoreless sixth and Heber added an insurance run in the bottom half, beginning when Hooten slammed a one-out single to center. With two out, Kramer delivered an RBI single to left field that plated Olmstead, who came in to courtesy run for Hooten.
    Leading by a field goal (16-13) going into the seventh, Anderson worked around a leadoff single from Burns, using two strikeouts and a grounder to Thomas at second to close out the sweep.
    Page 4 of 4 - In Game 2, Hooten finished 3-for-4 with 2 RBIs, Kramer was 2-for-3 with 3 runs and 2 RBIs, Morgan scored 3 runs to go with an RBI, Martz finished 2-for-2 with 3 RBIs and a run scored and Smith went 1-for-2 with 4 RBI, including two by sacrifice-fly.
     

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