BENTON – After striking out twice in the game already, Aaron Frazier wanted to try a different approach at the plate in his final at-bat.
“I was working on stuff,” Frazier said. “I was working on changing my swing and it paid off.”
Did it ever.
With his team trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Frazier hit a three-run home run to dead center to give the Seabrook All-Stars a 6-4 win over the Benton Panthers in the Babe Ruth 14-year-old state tournament at Bernard Holland Park.
“I was just trying to hit it,” Frazier said. “It feels great.”
Benton reclaimed the lead in the top of the seventh thanks to a pair of RBI singles with two outs. But a two-out rally by Seabrook in the bottom half of the inning gave them the win.
Trent Marshall reached first on a fielder’s choice and Joe Moore followed with a single. Marshall moved to third on a wild pitch and Frazier hit his home run on a 1-0 count.
“We got a bunch of confidence now and nothing is going to stop us,” Frazier said.
Frazier also did his part on the mound.
Earning a no-decision, Frazier pitched 4 1/3 and allowed just two runs (both earned) on four hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.
“Aaron Frazier pitched a heck of a game, too,” Seabrook manager Kenn Dickson said. “To come back and beat them like that’s a good job. I’m proud of these young men.”
Ja’Kobi Jackson earned the win after pitching 2 2/3 innings. He allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits with two strikeouts and no walks.
“Ja’Kobi did a good job coming in relief,” Dickson said. “He shut them down but we got to be more consistent when we got two strikes on hitters.”
Jackson was one strike away from picking up the save when he gave up the game tying RBI single to Benton’s Tim Bennett. He moved to third on an error in center field. Bennett then scored on a RBI single by Landon Whitaker to give the Panthers the 4-3 lead.
In the top of the seventh, Michael Boyd flashed some leather in the outfield to save a run.
With a runner on second, Benton’s Drew Chilton hit a deep fly ball to left-center field but Boyd was able to track it down near the wall and make the catch for the second out. He almost doubled up the runner but the throw was a tad late.
“That was a heck of a catch he made,” Dickson said. “It changed the whole complexion of the game as well as the one that Ja’Kobi made.”
In the top of the fourth, Jackson made a snow cone of a catch in deep center field to take away a leadoff hit from Bennett.
“Today was a total team effort,” Dickson said. “They showed a lot of heart today and the played good defense.
“They communicated and our pitching was excellent today.”
Chilton was tagged with the loss after just one inning of work. He gave up three runs (all earned) on two hits and no strikeouts or walks.
Jacob Cooper pitched six innings, allowed three runs (one earned) on four hits with eight walks and seven strikeouts.
Cooper gave Benton the lead in the top of the second with a solo home run to right field. He finished 2-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored.
Seabrook scored three runs in the bottom of the third to take a 3-1 lead.
After a single by Griffen Penny and a walk to Scott Taylor, Jackson hit a sharp ground ball to the second baseman, which went through his legs and rolled all the way to the wall scoring both runners.
Jackson scored on an RBI single by Blake Phillips. Jackson finished without a hit but did score a run. Phillips was 1-for-2 with two walks and an RBI.
Moore finished 1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored.
Benton scored a run in the fourth on a RBI single by Cole Treece to cut the lead to 3-2. He finished 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI. Landon Whitaker was 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Seabrook will face Lonoke at 2 p.m. Sunday in the winner’s bracket of the state tournament. Trent Goodman is scheduled to start on the mound.