Zebras try to improve hitting in home tournament


For the Pine Bluff Zebras, a key element entering this weekend’s Billy Bock Classic is doing a better job offensively.

“We just need to stay fundamentally sound,” Pine Bluff head coach Ryan Stinson said. “Get better at hitting. Our hitting hasn’t been great so far.

“We need to focus and put the ball in play.”

The Zebras (1-1) are coming off an 8-0 loss to Watson Chapel, where they tallied just four hits. Adam Graham was 2 of 3 and Jordan O’Guinn was 1 of 2.

“This week we are just practicing like normal, nothing special,” Stinson said. “Just working to get better.”

The Zebras defeated Star City 4-1 in five innings. The game was called early because the lights would not come due to a transformer that had blown earlier that day.

One advantage for the Zebras this year is their overall team speed.

“We have decent speed,” Stinson said. “We need more runners on base and put the ball on the ground.

“That could be very helpful for us.”

Walter Ashley, Demetrius Anderson, Aaron McDonlad, Graham and Braylen Jones have good speed on the base path according to Stinson.

“We have a few guys that can run,” Stinson said. “We need to take advantage of that whenever we can.”

McDonald, a senior, is scheduled to start today against Bald Knob at 4 p.m. at Taylor Field.

“He has been through the battles before,” Stinson said. “He is dependable and consistent.”

Against Watson Chapel, McDonald went 5 1/3 innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on two hits with six walks and two strikeouts.

Anderson closed out the game, allowing two runs (both earned) on one hit with two walks and no strikeouts.

Stinson said he doesn’t know much about Bald Knob, but knows they are “well developed and well coached.”

Defending champs square off

The 2012 5A state champion White Hall Bulldogs and the 2012 2A champion Woodlawn Bears will meet each other in the first round of the Billy Bock Classic today at 5 p.m. at White Hall Field.

Woodlawn scored 16 runs in the first inning as the Bears (4-1) routed Little Rock Mills 17-2 in three innings on Tuesday.

Colton Williams and Taylor Stith combined to allow just two hits in three innings. Freshman Tyler Gavin hit a two-run single in the first inning.

“White Hall has a good program and it is always an honor to play them,” Woodlawn head coach Tommy Richardson said. “Anytime we can play the caliber of someone like White Hall, it is a good experience.

“Hopefully our kids will be ready to play.”

Woodlawn lost six starters from its championship team.

“We’ve been pitching well, we just need to hit the ball better,” Richardson said. “I imagine we are like most teams, our pitching is ahead of our hitting.”

Richardson said he does not know who he will start in today’s game.

“I really haven’t made up my mind yet,” Richardson said. “I will pick one of them out and put them on the mound, and let them have at it.”

Watson Chapel JV faces Star City in Game 3

The Watson Chapel Wildcats will send their junior varsity team to the Billy Bock Classic this weekend while the varsity team plays in a tournament in Sheridan.

The JV Wildcats lost 10-9 to White Hall on Feb. 28 as the JV Bulldogs tallied 16 hits and a combined six runs in the final two innings to walk-off with the win.

Chapel scored three runs in the sixth, two runs in the seventh, two runs in the fifth, a run in the fourth and a run in the second.

White Hall scored three runs in the seventh and three in the sixth, two in the third, one in the fifth and one in the first.

“They are going to be young,” Watson Chapel JV head coach Greg Easter said. “We have a bunch of ninth graders and some 10th graders.

“We wanted them to see the competition and know the level that they should be playing at.”

Easter said he doesn’t want his team to just play JV teams.

“We want them to see the good pitching and let them know what they need to get here for the future,” Easter said.

Easter said he would probably start James Odd on the mound. Odd pitched against the White Hall junior varsity and had “a pretty good outing.”

Chapel was up three runs when Easter pulled Odd, but the Wildcats would lose the game.

“We are learning each other right now,” Easter said.

Star City (0-3) lost 8-7 in extra innings to Dumas on Monday. Dumas scored a run in the top of the eighth inning to break a 7-7 tie and held Star City in the bottom half of the inning to capture the victory.

Star City’s Zack House pitched four innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on five hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.

Austin Powell pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on no hits with five walks and seven strikeouts.

Austin Capps was 2 for 4 with two runs scored and a RBI. Max Ross was 2 for 3 with a run and two RBIs. Tye Brown was 3 for 3 with two RBI and a walk.

Harrison and Arkadelphia will face other at 8:30 p.m. at Taylor Field for the last game of the day.

Billy Bock Classic schedule

Today

• Bald Knob at Pine Bluff, at Taylor Field, 4 p.m.

• Woodlawn at White Hall, 5 p.m.

• Watson Chapel JV vs. Star City, at Taylor Field, 6:15 p.m.

• Harrison vs. Arkadelphia, at Taylor Field, 8:30 p.m.

Friday

• Pine Bluff/Bald Knob loser vs. Harrison/Arkadelphia loser, at Taylor Field, 4 p.m.

• WC JV/Star City loser vs. White Hall/Woodlawn loser, field TBD, 5 or 6:15 p.m.

• WC JV/Star City winner vs. White Hall/Woodlawn winner, field TBD, 5 or 6:15 p.m.

• Pine Bluff/Bald Knob winner vs. Harrison/Arkadelphia winner, at Taylor Field, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday (all at Taylor Field)

• Seventh-place game, 9 a.m.

• Consolation final, 11:30 a.m.

• Third-place game, 2 p.m.

• Championship, 4:30 p.m.