Heber Springs exploded for nine runs in the sixth inning to enforce the mercy rule in game one of a doubleheader at Southside High School on Wednesday. After scoring 17 runs in a loss to Booneville in a tournament finals at Dover in their last outing, the Panthers beat the Southerners 14-2 in game one and 6-1 in game two to move to 2-0 in conference.
“All in all I was really happy with the way we pitched it and our defense,” said Heber Springs (4-3, 2-0) head coach Jeff Bise. “That's was the big thing I was happy about. We were error free tonight in two games combined and it's been awhile since we've done that. That was the difference in this last game (game 2) was that they made errors and we didn't.”
Heber Springs 14, Southside 2
Senior Andrew Bradshaw pitched five innings in game one, striking out eight batters and giving up two earned runs on five hits and two walks. Bradshaw also went 1 for 5 with two RBIs and a run. Arkansas State signee Pierce Mitchum worked one inning in relief of Bradshaw, striking out three batters and allowing only one hit to close out the win.
Carter Kelley and Jacob Blasingame led Heber Springs at the plate. Kelley finished 3 for 4 with four RBIs, one run, and three stolen bases, while Blasingame went 4 for 5 with two RBIs and two runs on three doubles.
Bradshaw scored senior Sam Lee on a sac fly in the top of the first inning for a 1-0 lead, then Kelley drove in sophomore Nicholas Chaney on a grounder in the bottom of the second.
Southside freshman Cole Langston tied it at 2-2 with a two RBI single in the bottom of the second inning, and the game remained scoreless until the top of the 4th when Seth Jenkins took home plate on a throwing error and Kelley drove in junior Jacob Bremmon with a grounder for a 4-2 lead.
Bremmon finished 1 for 1 with two walks, two runs, and three stolen bases.
Bradshaw pitched out of a jam in the bottom of the fourth inning, then Blasingame scored when catcher Brandon Loethen walked with the bases loaded.
The Panthers began their hitting barrage in the top of the sixth inning, as Blasingame scored Mitchum on a double to right field, Bradshaw hit a two RBI double down the left line scoring Blasingame and Lee, and Chaney hit an RBI single to score Bradshaw.
Loethen was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, scoring another runner. Kelley hit a two RBI single to move Bremmon and Chaney across the plate.
Mitchum nearly added his fourth home run in two games but the ball was caught at the fence for a sac fly and a 12-2 lead.
Lee hit an RBI double to score Kelley and Blasingame cracked an RBI double to left field before the inning finally ended with the Panthers up 14-2.
Mitchum entered the game at pitcher and promptly struck out three out of four Southside batters to end the game with the mercy rule in effect.
Heber Springs 6, Southside 1
Mitchum continued on the mound in game two, pitching five complete innings with six strikeouts and five walks, allowing no hits and no earned runs.
Jenkins pitched two clean innings in relief of Mitchum, while also batting 1-for-4 with an RBI and run.
Bradshaw and Bremmon led the Panthers at the plate, each finishing 2 for 4 with an RBI.
“I hear the girls won both of theirs, so we took four from Southside,” said Bise. “It's a good night to be a Panther.”
Heber Springs baseball will play a double-header again tonight, starting at 5:30 p.m. against Wonderview as tournament fill-in in Pangburn. The Panthers will play the host Tigers at 7:30 p.m.