Heber Springs' youthful baseball program is starting to turn the corner. The Post 64 Panthers racked up nine hits and took advantage of 10 errors by Sylvan Hills in an 11-0, 5-inning rout of the Bruins in Thursday's American Legion Junior zone game at Panther Field.
Heber Springs’ youthful baseball program is starting to turn the corner. The Post 64 Panthers racked up nine hits and took advantage of 10 errors by Sylvan Hills in an 11-0, 5-inning rout of the Bruins in Thursday’s American Legion Junior zone game at Panther Field.
Post 64, which has outscored its opposition 17-0 in its first two home games, improved to 2-1 for the season. “They are getting a taste of winning and that is the biggest key for us right now,” said Heber Coach B.J. Greene. “This is a good group of kids and we have some young talent coming too that is going to challenge some kids for playing time. That’s good because we’ve got pressure on the older kids and when you get that the older kids seem to rise to the challenge. We have a great group of seniors coming up this year and I think they are going to lead us in the right direction.”
Right-handed pitcher Dillion Moore, who will be a senior this coming season, picked up the win on the mound, tossing all five frames while striking out four and only allowing three base runners ¬ one hit, one walk and one hit batsman.
“Dillion came out today and threw a 5-inning complete game and I think he was only around 50 pitches,” said Greene. “He kept it in the strike zone, got a little tired there at the end but we need our seniors to have good outing like that.”
Moore retired the Bruins (0-3) in order in the top half of the first and the Panthers immediately got to work, scoring five runs on two hits and four errors. Pierce Mitchum reached by error to lead off the bottom half and he stole second before Chandler Marquardt drove home Mitchum, stroking a run-scoring single to center field.
Conner Lindsey walked with one out as Marquardt stole third, then with two outs Jacob Blasingame lifted a fly-ball down the left field line that was mishandled, allowing Marquardt and Lindsey to score. Shayne Kimble lined a run-scoring single to right field that brought home Blasingame, then Kimble stole his way around to third, causing a throwing error that allowed him to cruise home as Post 64 built a 5-0 lead.
Sylvan Hills relieved starting pitcher James Renshaw with Ray Young, who retired the first batter he faced to strand the bases loaded, receiving help on an extremely generous call at first base. Moore pitched around a one-out single by Christian Hendrickson and a hit batter in the second, escaping when Jason Neely’s sacrifice-bunt attempt turned into an inning-ending double play turned by Moore, who snagged the pop-up and quickly fired to first base to end the Bruins’ only serious threat.
The Panthers added an insurance run in the bottom of the second as Marquardt reached on hard ground ball turned error and he scored with two outs when Kimble’s ground ball was misplayed. Moore sat down the Bruins in order in the third and sparked Post 64’s offense in the bottom half, slamming a single to center field, where another error allowed Moore to advance around to third base.
With one out, Logan Magness beat out an infield single for an RBI that scored courtesy runner Steele Spicer, but Young managed to limit the damage with a pickoff and pop-out. Moore retired Sylvan Hills in order for the third time in four innings and the Panthers backed him with four runs on five hits in the bottom of the fourth.
Jacob Bremmon and Blasingame each legged out an infield single to spark the Panthers, then Kimble pulled a hit and run double through the vacated hole on left side, plating Bremmon. Blasingame scored on a passed ball and Kimble also hustled around to score on a throwing error as the Panthers’ lead grew to 10-0.
Moore drilled a one-out single up the middle, setting the stage for Magness’ RBI triple, which he nailed to deep right field. With the bases loaded, Young recorded a strikeout to avoid more damage, leaving Heber’s lead at 11-0 entering the top half of the fifth. Moore pitched around a one-out walk in the fifth to complete the shutout.
Magness (2 for 3) led the Panthers with 2 RBI, while Kimble and Moore also contributed two hits. Kimble (2 for 3 with RBI) and Marquardt (1 for 2) each scored two runs.