The 'Comeback Cats' struck again on Tuesday in Conway.
Heber Springs senior third baseman Paden Flippin collected three hits, including a double and grand-slam in the Panthers' eight run sixth inning, leading an 11-8 comeback victory over the Eagles.
The Panthers, who trailed 5-0 early and 6-2 entering the top of the sixth, had already earned the nickname 'Comeback Cats' with late inning heroics in wins over Southside Batesville and Harding Academy.
Heber added the Eagles to their list of monumental comebacks on Tuesday. “Our seniors are stepping up for us again,” said Panther Coach B.J. Greene. “Brooks Morgan and Paden Flippin are making big plays for us at the right times. I think 'Comeback Cats' is fitting for these guys. They have fought all year long and they are finally doing things in the right order. We never quit and never got down.”
Trailing 6-2 entering the top of the sixth, Flippin led off with a double and Morgan slammed a two-run triple to the alley in right center.
Sophomore Chandler Marquardt added an RBI double and the Panthers used patience at the plate to create walks and roll the lineup back over for Flippin, who launched his grand-slam over the left field wall, giving the Panthers a 10-6 lead.
Flippin and Morgan also flashed some leather, saving several potential runs. Flippin made two diving plays from his third base position, including a diving catch to his left on a screaming line drive for the final out.
Just before Flippin's remarkable play, Morgan tracked down a fly ball in the gap from his center field position, and threw to second to double off a Conway Christian base runner. Morgan also snared a diving catch with two outs in the fourth inning, saving at least two runs.
“Paden is a natural third baseman,” said Greene. “We had him at shortstop early on, but we've got him back in his natural spot at third and he made two great plays to his left and right. Those are doubles maybe and he saved us both times.”
Freshman Zach Ingram, who finished 1-for-4, brought the Panthers within three at 5-2 with an RBI double, but Heber's bats fell silent until the sixth inning explosion.
Senior Michael Kramer (2-for-3) and sophomore Chandler Jones (2-for-3) each contributed two singles for Heber, which opened 2-4A District Tournament play on Thursday evening at Panther Field.
Joining Morgan, Marquardt and Ingram with one hit apiece was sophomore Dillion Moore (1-for-3) and freshman Caleb Payton, who stroked a double in his only plate appearance.
Payton also picked up the save on the mound, retiring the final eight batters while allowing two runs, including one earned. Marquardt was credited with the win, pitching 3 2/3 while giving up two runs on three hits and striking out two.
Page 2 of 2 - Carlisle 5, Heber 3
Carlisle jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning and held off the Panthers 5-3 on Monday at Panther Field.
“You've got to credit those guys at Carlisle. They didn't make many mistakes,” said Heber Coach B.J. Greene, who led Carlisle to the 2A state title game last season.
Facing Heber freshman starting pitcher Colby Vines, the visiting Bison built a 4-0 lead with four runs on four hits in the top of the first frame.
Senior Brooks Morgan relieved Vines in the fourth and limited Carlisle to one run on four hits through the final four innings.
Heber recorded four hits as Michael Kramer finished 1-for-3 with a double, while sophomores Zach
McCormick, Chandler Jones and Chandler Marquardt each had a single. Freshman Zach Ingram drove home two runs for the Panthers.