White Hall begins state defense with rout

WHITE HALL — Dutton Day blasted a pair of two-run home runs to lead a 14-hit explosion for White Hall in a 14-2 win over Gurdon in its opening game of the Little League state tournament at Dickie Lunsford Field at White Hall City Park on Saturday afternoon.

Day launched the first of his two long balls in the first inning off Gurdon starter Reid Ledbetter and went yard again in the third off reliever Austin Taylor in the mercy-rule affair.

Day said White Hall’s chances of advancing to regional play in Waco, Texas, was as good as any team in the field.

“I feel like we are the favorites because it’s home-field advantage for us,” Day said. “I think we have a pretty good chance. But you never can tell. Last year, I thought it was going to be a breeze in regionals and they destroyed us.”

White Hall coach Sheldon Pratt said any opposing team was going to have to be solid on the mound to stop the offensive onslaught White Hall is capable of producing.

“It’s going to be hard to beat us if you can’t throw the fast ball by us,” Pratt said. “We have to hit the fast ball. We know we will see it next game, no matter who we play.”

As it turns out White Hall will square off against rival Pine Bluff Western in today’s semifinal round at 1 p.m.

White Hall jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first behind Dutton’s shot and a pair of doubles by Layne Hartsfield and Garrett Dennis. White Hall extended its lead to 8-0 in the second inning on a pair of walks and an RBI double by Bryce Kincaid and an RBI single by Hartsfield. The District 3 champs tacked on six more in the third, highlighted by a Remington Curtis home run, his first of the post-season.

“He finally got him a good one,” Pratt said. “It was just a matter of time. He is a strong kid.”

Dennis picked up the win on the mound in 1 1/3 innings, striking out two and allowing one hit. Curtis recorded an inning in relief, Ryan Ruff went 1/3 of an inning and Ruston Smith finished up the final 1 1/3.

Gurdon managed only two hits and scored in the third on a White Hall error and two walks.

Hartsfield finished a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate as did Dennis. Harstfield drove in a run while Dennis plated two. Nick Roper singled and doubled and drove in a run.