BOBCATS SPLIT TWO: Berryville hammers Lead Hill, suffers walkoff loss to Pea Ridge
By Scott Loftis
The Berryville Bobcats were within one out of pulling off a comeback victory on the road against Pea Ridge on Friday when disaster struck.
A two-out ground-ball single by the Blackhawks’ Braden Mincks scored two runs and lifted Pea Ridge to a 7-6 victory.
“That one hurt,” Berryville coach David Broseus said.
The loss spoiled a nice comeback by the Bobcats, who scored six runs in the top of the sixth inning to take the lead after being shut out for five innings by Pea Ridge senior pitcher Tate Busey.
“They threw their ace,” Broseus said. “He’s up around 86 or 88 miles an hour and can locate three pitches.”
Busey, a University of Central Arkansas signee, allowed just one hit in four innings. He struck out 12 Berryville batters and did not issue a walk.
“The first five innings, we struggled offensively,” Broseus said.
The Bobcats broke through in the sixth, however. With two out and the bases loaded, junior Jarrett Stringer ripped a triple to center field to score three runs. Freshman D.J. Colbert followed with a single to score sophomore Brandon McGehee, running for Stringer. After a single by freshman Aspen Linz, junior Jace Walker hit an RBI single to score Colbert. Linz scored on the throw to give Berryville a 6-5 lead.
The Bobcats still held their one-run lead going into the bottom of the seventh. A single and an error put runners on first and second with one out, and both runners advanced on a bunt.
Mincks followed with “one of those seeing-eye groundballs,” Broseus said.
One run scored easily and the second was just ahead of Berryville’s relay throw.
“They hit it where we weren’t,” Broseus said. “It’s just baseball.”
The loss at Pea Ridge came one day after Berryville overpowered Lead Hill at the Berryville Sports Complex. Berryville scored 13 runs in the bottom of the fourth and beat Lead Hill 17-0 in five innings.
Berryville seniors Tyler Payne and Austin Franklin and junior Tanner Rosales held Lead Hill hitless, striking out 12 batters and walking two.
Colbert had three hits, drove in two runs and scored twice to lead the Berryville offense, while Payne drove in two runs and scored two more. Franklin had two hits and an RBI and scored three times and Stringer had two hits and an RBI.
With a roster dotted with freshmen, Broseus said playing in close games is good experience for the Bobcats.
“When you’re as young as we are, to be able to compete with a pretty good team gives you confidence,” he said.
Berryville was scheduled to host Lincoln on Monday, but the game was rained out. Broseus said a game scheduled for Tuesday at Elkins might be moved to Berryville depending on which field is in better condition.
“We’re hoping to get that game in,” he said.
The Bobcats are scheduled to host the annual Carroll County Tournament on Friday and Saturday.