Ricebirds advance to Fayetteville


HARRISON — Stuttgart lined two hits Saturday, and that’s all it needed.

Ragen Counce stranded eight Prairie Grove runners on base, struck out four and walked one despite allowing five hits as Stuttgart scored a 2-1 victory Saturday in a 4A state semifinal. Stuttgart will face Arkadelphia at 3 p.m. next Saturday at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville, hoping to win its first-ever state championship in baseball.

“Ragen Counce did a good job keeping them off-balance,” Stuttgart coach Kevin Youngblood said. “We did a good job making plays. We were very fortunate to hold Prairie Grove to one run.”

Counce reached on a bunt and scored the Ricebirds’ first run on a passed ball in the first inning. In the fifth, Jon Curtis hit a sacrifice fly to score Andrew Hoskyn.

Taylor Daniels and Gary Hill had the Ricebirds’ two hits.

The Ricebirds have won five*** straight and knocked out a Prairie Grove team that was 25-2 on the season. The next challenge for Stuttgart is Arkadelphia, which beat Central Arkansas Christian 13-5 in the other semifinal.

“We’ve had timely hitting and the kids continue to work hard,” Youngblood said. “We continue to hit the ball and have solid pitching. All parts of the game are coming together.”

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***This article has been corrected from its original version, in which Stuttgart's winning streak was incorrect.