El Dorado scored five runs each in the fifth and seventh innings as the Wildcats defeated Pine Bluff 12-6 Tuesday night at Taylor Field.
“It is just things we have to overcome,” Pine Bluff head coach Ryan Stinson said. “We are a little young and a little inexperienced.
“We are just going to have overcome those big innings. Once we do that, we will become a better ball club.”
Pine Bluff (4-7) had a 6-2 lead heading into the top of the fifth inning, but El Dorado batted around as they plated five runs to take a 7-6 lead.
The Wildcats then scored five more in the seventh inning for the 12-6 lead.
El Dorado’s Matthew Lansdell led off the seventh with a walk. He moved to third after a passed ball and a sacrifice bunt. Justin Messer hit a RBI single to plate Lansdell.
Back-to-back walks loaded the bases for Clay Henry, who hit an RBI single. An error allowed another to score and after a pop-up to the second baseman, two more runs scored on the second error of the inning.
El Dorado won the 6A state championship last year.
“Every team in this conference is going to be good competition,” Stinson said. “We expect every night to be a battle.
“Nothing surprised me, they were a good ballclub. They stayed steady and waited for us to make a few mistakes, and they capitalized on it.”
Pine Bluff senior Aaron McDonald took the loss after allowing seven runs (six earned) on nine hits with two walks and no strikeouts. He was also 3 for 4 at the plate with a pair of RBIs.
“He’s been pretty steady for us,” Stinson said. “I’m pleased with him. We just got to learn how to back him up on defense.
“Once we get to that point, the wins will come for him. But he’s been through the battles and in any big games, I’m going to give him the ball.”
Pine Bluff scored five runs in the fourth inning to take a four-run lead.
Freshman Jordan O’Guinn was hit-by-a-pitch to lead off the inning. He later scored on an RBI single by sophomore Gealander Harris.
Senior Walter Ashley reached on an infield single and error at second base allowed Adam Graham to reach and for two runs to score. A double by McDonald plated two more runs and chased El Dorado starter Jeremy Paul out of the game.
“We came up with some key hits and we got runners in scoring position,” Stinson said. “We did some key things a the plate and I was pleased about that.
For El Dorado, Paul pitched 3 2/3 innings and allowed six runs (four earned) on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts. Caleb Stutts pitched the final 3 1/3 and allowed just two hits with six strikeouts and two walks.
Pine Bluff got on the board in the third inning when junior J’Marlos Johnson scored on a wild pitch after reaching on a walk to begin the inning.
El Dorado scored two runs in the second inning thanks to three consecutive singles to being the inning and an RBI sacrifice fly. It gave the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.
Freshman Braylen Jones had to leave the game in the first inning after he sprained his ankle trying to field a throw from the catcher. Stinson said as of now Jones’ injury is day-to-day.
Harris replaced Jones at second and finished 1 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI.
“I thought Gealander Harris came in and did a good job filling in,” Stinson said. “That was big for him. He hadn’t been hitting well lately, so that was a big plus for him.”
For Pine Bluff, O’Guinn finished 1 for 2 with a double and a run scored. He was also hit by a pitch twice. Ashley was 2 for 3 with a run scored. Graham was 1 for 3 with a run scored.
For El Dorado, Henry was 3 for 4 with a RBI and two runs scored. Lansdell was 2 for 2 with two walks, two stolen bases and three runs scored. Paul was 2 for 3 with a RBI, a stolen base and a run scored. Messer was 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Pine Bluff will play at Sheridan on Friday.