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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • 'Hounds hand Heber league loss

  • Newport took an early lead with a pair of two-out, two-run hits and Heber Springs never recovered as the Greyhounds beat the Panthers 9-3 on Thursday in 2-4A Conference play at Panther Field.
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  • Newport took an early lead with a pair of two-out, two-run hits and Heber Springs never recovered as the Greyhounds beat the Panthers 9-3 on Thursday in 2-4A Conference play at Panther Field.
    The Greyhounds, who pounded out 12 hits, snatched the lead for good in the top of the first inning with a pair of opposite field extra base hits with two outs. Third baseman Hayden Schulz slammed an RBI double to deep right field and starting center fielder Colton Willis followed with an RBI double to left field.
    “We started Chase Vines to try and keep them off balance and we got the first two outs, then make a mistake at shortstop and they score two runs,” said Heber manager B.J. Greene. “Next time they come around they have two outs and they score two more runs. They really did a good job of timely hitting whereas we didn’t.”
    Newport pitchers Gunner Bullard and Colton Willis combined to strike out 11 and held the Panthers to six hits. Willis, a lefty who took over with the Greyhounds leading 6-1 in the fifth, fanned seven of 11 batters he faced.
    “Their pitchers did a good job of keeping us off-balance,” said Greene. “We’ve got to really focus and put the ball in play. We spent a lot of time on it this past week being off three days and I really fully expected our swings to be better and we just kinda got fooled at the plate. Hopefully it will come around before the end of the season.
    “We are 0-3 in conference but we are right there comparable with all the people we have played. You people might laugh but I think we are playing like a team and when we get rid of those strikeouts we will be alright,” added Greene.
    Newport extended its lead to 6-0 in the fourth as right fielder Tyler Asher singled and scored on an RBI double off the bat of Bullard, who also came around and scored on a two-out passed ball.
    Heber third baseman Michael Kramer reached on an error and scored on Hunter Chandler’s RBI single in the bottom of the fifth and the Panthers trimmed their deficit in half in the sixth, scoring three runs on two hits.
    Designated-hitter Chandler Marquardt sliced a double into the right field corner with one out in the sixth and center fielder Pierce Mitchum followed with an RBI double over third base and down the left field line, scoring Marquardt.
    After second baseman Dillion Moore lined a single past shortstop, right fielder Tyler Dennis drove home Mitchum with an RBI sacrifice-fly to right field. Willis notched a strikeout to avoid further trouble with Newport leading 6-3.
    Page 2 of 2 - Facing Heber relief pitcher Andrew Bradshaw, who took the mound in the fourth and slowed the Greyhounds for three innings, Newport broke the game back open with three runs on four singles in the top of the seventh.
    Willis, Asher and first baseman Tristan Sweatt each singled and scored in the final frame, boosting Newport’s lead to 9-3.
    Willis, who finished 3 for 3 with 2 RBI and a run scored, struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh as the Greyhounds improved to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in conference play.
    Schulz (3 for 4) led Newport with 2 RBI and 2 runs, while Asher (2 for 4) scored 2 runs and drove home another.
    Mitchum, a freshman, led Heber at the plate. He finished 2 for 4 with a run and RBI. Moore (2 for 4) also contributed 2 hits for the Panthers, who dropped to 8-9 overall and 0-3 in conference play.

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