Parkers Chapel baseball staves off Smackover – El Dorado News-Times
By Jason Avery
PARKERS CHAPEL – One thing is for certain. When Parkers Chapel and Smackover meet on the baseball diamond, there is never a dull moment.
The Union County rivals played another nail-biter on Saturday afternoon, as the Trojans outlasted the Bucks 7-6 at Robert McKinnon Park in a game that wasn’t decided until Logan Selman struck out Nick Jennings with the tying and go-ahead runs at second and third base.
Finishing close games has become something of a hallmark for the senior, who was the winning pitcher in the Trojans’ 16-15 win over the Bucks that opened the 2016 campaign.
In that contest, Selman struck out two batters with the bases loaded in the seventh to save the game.
On Saturday, it looked like Selman would finish the game without much drama.
With a four-run lead, one runner on base and two outs, Selman was set to close the door on the Bucks.
But the visitors had other ideas.
Baylor Brumley came off the bench and delivered a pinch-hit RBI single that scored Weston Smith, who led off the inning with a walk, to make it 7-4.
Cade Schibler followed with a single to right to put runners at the corners, and Nick Impson walked to load the bases.
Selman was able to get Tucker Evans to hit a ground ball to third, but a throwing error on the play allowed two runs to score and bring the Bucks within a run.
With the tying run at third and the go-ahead run at second, the Bucks were primed to cap their comeback, but after falling behind in the count 3-0, Selman roared back to strike out Jennings on a 3-2 pitch to end it.
Selman allowed four runs and two hits in four innings of work. He walked four and struck out eight.
“It was a good high school game,” said Parkers Chapel coach Mark Looney. “We tried to make it interesting there at the end. That was a crucial error that led to two runs. We’re very proud of Logan. I wasn’t going to take him out of the game even after that error. He got refocused, and striking that last batter out was huge to save the game for us.”
The games of late between the Union County rivals have been nip-and-tuck affairs, and this one was no exception.
The Bucks (0-4) drew first blood with two runs in the first against Trojans starter Michael Brotherton.
With one out, Smith ripped a line drive that was just fair down the left-field line for a double, and Beau Burson followed with a walk to put runners at first and second.
After the runners advanced a base each on a passed ball, Brennan McKnight got the Bucks on the scoreboard after his flare to left fell for a single that scored Smith to make it 1-0.
With runners at the corners, courtesy runner Alex Burris deliberately got himself into a rundown, and Burson was just able to beat the throw home to give the visitors a 2-0 edge.
Schibler, Smackover’s starter, was able to work around a two-out single by T.J. Bale in the bottom of the first, but the bottom of the Trojans’ lineup broke through for a two-out run in the second.
With two outs and nobody on, Schibler seemed to be on his way to a 1-2-3 inning.
However, Jordan Arrington extended the inning by legging out a slow roller to third for an infield single, and a walk to Tyler Sanders put runners at first and second.
Thomas Hardy then delivered a single to center that scored Arrington to cut the Bucks’ lead in half, and the Trojans (3-1) would grab their first lead of the day an inning later.
Reece Griffin walked to start the third and Bale was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second.
A wild pitch with Carson Worthey at the plate advanced the runners into scoring position, and Worthey tied the game moments later with an RBI groundout.
Selman then gave the Trojans the lead by lining a single to center that scored Bale to make it 3-2.
After their two-run first, the Bucks stranded five baserunners in scoring position over the next three innings.
The Bucks had runners at second and third with one out in the third, but Brotherton fanned Cody Smith before retiring Schibler on a ground out to short with Griffin saving potentially two runs with a great scoop on a throw in the dirt.
Brotherton’s day on the mound ended after he walked Impson and Evans to start the fourth, and Selman was summoned to try and halt the Bucks’ rally.
The right-hander did just that, striking out Jennings and Clay Stringer before getting Smith on a comebacker to the mound to end the inning.
“Logan came in and did a tremendous job,” Looney said. “He came in with two on and nobody out, and they didn’t score. That was huge. That was a big turning point in the game because they had a chance to go up on us there. That kind of dictated the rest of the game.”
Brotherton allowed two hits and two runs in three-plus innings of work. He walked six and struck out two.
“I thought Michael did a good job,” Looney said. “He threw too many balls and walked a couple too many, but they didn’t hit him. I thought he did a good job.”
After being turned away, the Bucks tied the game without the aid of a hit in the fifth.
Burson worked Selman for a leadoff walk and stole second to get into scoring position.
The senior advanced to third on McKnight’s ground out and scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-3.
But the game wouldn’t stay tied for long thanks to the bottom of the Trojans’ lineup.
With one out, Jacob Hobbs walked, and one out later, Sanders singled to center to put runners at first and second.
A walk to Hardy loaded the bases, and Hobbs scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch on the first offering to Trace Blaylock.
Burson then took over Schibler, and the senior should’ve been out of the inning after getting Blaylock to hit a fly ball to right, but the ball was dropped, allowing two runs to score to make it 6-3.
The Trojans then picked up what turned out to be a huge run in the bottom of the sixth, as Worthey reached on an error, stole second and scored on a pair of wild pitches.
Schibler allowed seven hits and six runs over 4 2/3 innings of work. He walked five and struck out six.
Although he may have taken the loss, Schibler got plenty of praise for his outing.
“Today was the first day besides Magnolia that we had a really good pitching performance,” said Smackover coach B.J. Greene. “Cade Schibler came out and threw really well, and we brought in Beau to get him a bullpen to get ready for Tuesday’s start against Crossett.”
The loss struck a familiar chord with the Bucks, who have lost their first four games despite holding leads in each of them.
The Bucks were also held to just four hits in the contest.
“This is the fourth game in a row for us that we’ve had a lead and we’ve lost it,” Greene said. “It’s getting frustrating as a coach, and I know it’s getting frustrating to our kids. They didn’t throw anybody overpowering, but they did their job. They threw strikes and they kept us off-balance. If you don’t have many hits, you don’t win.”
With combined district games against Monticello and Crossett looming on Monday and Tuesday, Greene said he has tried to be patient and reassure his team.
“You try to. You really try to,” Greene said. “It’s hard to stay positive when you’ve lost games like we have, but our goal is to be ready to go at the end of the year. We’ve got to keep improving. That’s the thing.”
Bale went 2-for-3 for the Trojans, who had seven hits in their first outing since being upended by Fordyce on Thursday.
“I’m very proud of my team,” Looney said. “When they brought in Beau, we didn’t hit Beau very well, but we made contact and made some things happen. When you put the ball in play in high school, a lot of times, good things happen. That’s what came our way in the later innings.”