Heber Springs baseball sent its seniors out in style on Thursday, sweeping the Mountain View Yellowjackets, 13-1 and 6-1, in a home double-header on Senior Night.
Heber Springs (17-5) has won 10 of its last 11 games by a combined score of 116-11. The Panthers play their last scheduled game of the season against Bald Knob (14-4) at home today.
Heber played with its traditional starting lineup in game 1 against the Yellowjackets (6-12), ending it by run-rule, 13-1, after five innings.
Seth Jenkins, in his third consecutive quality outing, pitched a complete game, striking out seven while allowing six hits, one walk, and one earned run.
“It's the time of the season when I need [Seth Jenkins] most and he's ready to go and coming up big,” said Heber head coach Jeff Bise. “Between Bradshaw's last three outings and Jenkins' I'm pretty confident in my pitching staff right now. Jordan Adkins got some valuable mound time tonight, and Clayton [Cox] threw well.”
Senior catcher Brandon Loethen put the Panthers on the scoreboard in the second inning, driving home Jacob Bremmon after the junior reached base on a double. Pinch-runner Steele Spicer scored on a wild pitch, senior Carter Kelley hit an RBI single on a grounder, and Heber moved to an early 3-0 lead.
Heber Springs erupted for seven runs in the bottom of the third inning, each driven in by a different Panther – Jenkins, Bremmon (triple), Loethen (triple on error), Kelley (double), Jordan Adkins, Nicholas Chaney (double), and Pierce Mitchum (double on error).
Loethen brought home another runner on a Mountain View error in the fourth inning, and Kelley and junior Jacob Blasingame each hit RBI singles to left field to close out the win in the fifth inning, 13-1.
In game 2 against Mountain View, Bise honored his seniors by putting all of his eligible fourth-year players in the starting lineup.
Seniors Brandon Loethen, out with a headache after a collision at the plate in the first game, and Andrew Bradshaw, out with a hip injury, were absent from the lineup.
“I wanted to make the second game all about my seniors. I wanted to give everybody an at bat, give everybody a chance to play,” said an emotional Bise. “I'm going to miss them. They're great kids, nothing but respect. I can't say enough about them.”
Seniors Jordan Adkins, Clayton Cox, and Dillon Spivey combined efforts on the mound in game two against Mountain View.
Adkins pitched three innings, allowing four hits, two walks, and one run (zero earned) while striking out two batters. Cox threw 3.2 innings, giving up zero hits, one walk, and zero runs while striking out five. Spivey pitched the final out of the game.
After an RBI triple by senior Sam Lee, the Panthers were locked in a 1-1 tie in the second game until Blasingame laid down a well-placed bunt to score sophomore Nicholas Chaney. Kelley tripled to right field to score Blasingame, Mitchum brought home Kelley, and junior Jacob Bremmon blasted a two-RBI single to complete a five-run rally and move the team ahead, 6-1.
Bremmon paced the Panthers at the plate, finishing a combined 4-for-5 with two RBIs and three runs on a double and two triples. Kelley was 3-for-7 with three RBIs and two runs (double, triple).
Adkins ended the first game against the Yellowjacets 3-for-3 with an RBI.