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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Hornets upend Eagles in title game

  • West Side defeated Midland 6-5 on Friday before falling to 1A-2 South District host South Side Bee Branch 7-4 on Saturday evening in the district championship.
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  • West Side defeated Midland 6-5 on Friday before falling to 1A-2 South District host South Side Bee Branch 7-4 on Saturday evening in the district championship.
    West Side 6, Midland 5
    The Eagles were seemingly gliding to victory in the district semifinal round, leading 5-0 until Midland suddenly scored four runs in the fifth and one more in the top of the seventh to tie the game.
    With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, West Side won in spectacular fashion as senior third baseman Ben Hargrove stole home, diving head first ahead of Midland catcher Austin Passmore’s tag.
    Hargrove executed the straight steal to perfection. “He was pitching out of the wind-up so I told coach I can just take off and get there as the ball does. I felt like I had it.”
    “One of the craziest games I've ever been a part of,” said West Side Manager Shane Davis. “We did a great job scoring in multiple innings then had a bad fifth inning in the field. Bryce had to really work today because the defense was very shaky.
    “When he got out of the bases loaded and no outs only giving up one in the top of the seventh I felt like we had regained the momentum. And when suicide squeeze came within inches of working I thought maybe it wasn't meant to be, then Ben said coach I think I can make it and he was right,” Davis emphasized.
    West Side senior pitcher Bryce Hipp, who allowed five hits while walking three and striking out nine, retired the Mustangs in order in the top half of the first ¬ including two by strikeout.
    The Eagles stirred up a two-out rally in the bottom half as Mason Treece walked, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on twin brother Dalton Treece’s RBI single to left field.
    Hipp pitched around a two-out double by Austin Passmore in the bottom of the second, escaping when Mason Treece tracked down a fly-ball in deep center, where he made an astounding over-the-shoulder basket catch.
    West Side added another run in the second starting when Brandon Carr looped a single over first base. Carr moved into scoring position on Casey Hooten’s sacrifice-bunt and advanced to third on a wild pitch.Bryce Hipp brought home Carr with an RBI groundout to shortstop, giving the Eagles a 2-0 lead after two frames.
    Hipp plunked the first batter of the third before bouncing back with three straight strikeouts and the Eagles added another run in the bottom half, starting when Hargrove beat out an infield single.
    Page 2 of 4 - Dalton Treece, who reached on a fielder’s choice, motored around from first base when Hayden Gilmore crushed an RBI double deep down the left field line as the Eagles pushed their lead to 3-0.
    Hipp retired the Mustangs in order in the fourth and West Side got right back to work, scoring two runs on one hit and two errors. After Bryce Hipp reached by error and younger brother Blaine “Pepper” Hipp singled to right center, Mason Treece sent a hard ground ball to the left side that was mishandled, allowing Bryce and Blaine Hipp to score.
    West Side got sloppy in the field in the top half of the fifth and the Mustangs took advantage, starting when Drew Martin reached on an error. Jason Smith added an infield single and Dalton Passmore walked as Martin scored on a wild pitch.
    Following an error that allowed Smith and Passmore to score, Cody Martin belted an RBI double to the alley in left center, plating Trent Fortson, who reached on an error. Hipp escaped more damage with a strikeout, leaving Cody Martin stranded at second.
    Down to its final three outs, the Mustangs got the run they needed as Drew Martin walked, Smith legged out a bunt single and Dalton Passmore walked to load the bases.
    Hipp fired back with a strikeout before Cody Martin ripped an RBI single to right field that scored Drew Martin. Smith tried to score from second but was cut down at the plate on a strong throw from Dalton Treece. Hargrove took care of a ground ball to third base, leaving two runners stranded.
    Suddenly tied at 5-5, Hargrove walked to lead off the bottom of the seventh. Dalton Treece’s sacrifice-bunt moved Hargrove to second. A wild pitch gave Hargrove third and with two outs ¬ following a strikeout ¬ Hargrove swiped home as West Side celebrated a 6-5 victory.
    Cody Martin (2 for 4 with two RBI) and Smith (2 for 3 with a run) each produced two hits for the Mustangs, who had lost two regular season games to West Side by a combined score of 7-0. Midland dropped to 9-9 on the season heading into this weekend’s regional tournament, also to be hosted by South Side Bee Branch.
    Blaine Hipp (2 for 4 with one run) was the lone Eagle with multiple hits, while Dalton Treece (1 for 3 with a run and RBI), Gilmore (1 for 4 with an RBI), Brandon Carr (1 for 2 with a run), and Hargrove (1 for 3 with a run) each collected one base knock for West Side, which improved to 17-1 for the season.
    South Side 7, West Side 4
    Once ace pitcher Mason Duncan found his groove, the Hornets halted any comeback hopes by West Side, which dropped its second game of the season to host South Side Bee Branch in Saturday evening’s district title game.
    Page 3 of 4 - The 1A-2 South co-champions split in the regular season. They both won on the road, but the Hornets earned the top seed by beating West Side by one more run. West Side, which won 5-3 in their last meeting with the Hornets after losing the first decision 3-0, started out strong.
    “This game came down to the first three innings our pitchers just couldn't find the strike zone in the early going  with six walks, three hit batsmen and only three hits allowed,” said West Side Manager Shane Davis.
     “Dalton along with our defense throwing out runners at home gave us a chance to come back but we just never could get anything much going offensively. Now it's win or go home, hopefully we can find our bats again this week,” added Davis, who received 1A-2 South Coach of the Year following the game.
    The Eagles took advantage of four fielding miscues in the top of the first inning, taking a 3-0 lead starting when Bryce Hipp looped a single to shallow right field, where miscommunication allowed Hipp to reach with a base hit.
    Blaine “Pepper” Hipp reached on an error but South Side retired the next two batters although Bryce Hipp sped home when a strikeout in the dirt forced the Hornets to throw to first base.
    After Dalton Treece reached on an error that allowed Pepper to score, Hayden Gilmore drove an RBI single through the hole on left side, plating Dalton Treece and giving West Side a 3-0 lead.
    Facing Gilmore, South Side responded with two runs on two hits in the bottom of the first. John Hastings delivered an RBI single that scored Duncan, who led off with a walk. Hastings came around to score after Garrett Collums was hit-by-a-pitch and stole second, causing an error.
    Following another hit batsman, the Eagles relieved Gilmore with Dalton Treece, who induced a line drive turned double play by Gilmore, who had just moved to second base, where he caught the ball near the turf and fired to first base to complete the play.
    David Brown worked a one-out walk in the second and scored on Pepper’s RBI single, which he nailed to left field, pushing the Eagles’ lead to 4-2.
    South Side, which took the lead for good in the bottom of the second, loaded the bases on an infield single by Luke Pennington and back-to-back walks drawn by Austin Lewis and Duncan.
    Will Pennington followed with a run-scoring walk that pushed Luke Pennington across.
    With one out, Collums’ RBI groundout brought home Lewis, then Brian Dumas delivered an RBI single to left field that scored Duncan, but Casey Hooten’s strong throw cut down Will Pennington at home plate, keeping South Side’s lead at 5-4.
    Page 4 of 4 - Duncan worked around a leadoff walk and error in the third and the Hornets added two runs on three hits and two walks in the bottom half. Catcher Josh Payne, who has been injured much of the season, ignited South Side with a leadoff single past third base.
    Donovan Taylor walked before courtesy runner Zac Capps scored on a double steal.
    Luke Pennington walked and Duncan reached on a bunt single, loading the bases for Will Pennington, who laced an RBI single to left field.
    West Side, which gunned down a total of three South Side runners at home plate, limited the damage with a precise relay throw from Hargrove to Brown, who tagged out Luke Pennington at home.
    Pepper (3 for 3 with a run and RBI) led West Side, which fell to 17-2 overall. Bryce Hipp (1 for 4) scored a run along with Brown and Dalton Treece.
    South Side improved to 19-6 heading into the regional tournament. The Hornets open tournament play at 10 a.m. against Wonderview.
    West Side battles Mount Vernon-Enola on Friday at 5:30 p.m. in the first round of the 1A, Region 2 Tournament at South Side Bee Branch.
     
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