The Pine Bluff Western Little League baseball team will have to rely on their strong defense to carry them through this weekend’s state tournament in Arkadelphia.
“Our defense has really excelled and even though we have some top notch pitching in both our games, our defense has been key to both games,” manager Jason Terry said. “Our bats have been kind of slow but would usually came through at the end.
“If it wasn’t for defense we would have won either one.”
In the district tournament, the 11-12-year-old little league team defeated White Hall 3-1 and 3-0. And according to Terry, it was their defense that kept them in the game.
“If we keep that going, we will go somewhere,” Terry said.
In the second game, Pine Bluff Western scored all three of its runs in the sixth inning to break a scoreless tie.
With the baseless loaded, Drew Raines reached on an infield single to plate one run and Austin Weatherford hit a two-run double to give Western the 3-0 lead.
Raines picked up the victory on the mound after pitching a complete game. He struck out eight batters and walked just one batter.
For White Hall, Ryan Rough had pitch five good innings before Western was able to string a couple of hits together.
“They changed pitchers and we were able to put together a few runs after that,” Terry said.
In the first game, Western defeated White Hall 3-0 thanks to a home run by Caleb Hill in the first inning and a RBI double by Drew Raines in the third inning.
The state tournament will begin today but Pine Bluff Western will not play until Saturday. They will face the winner of Corning and Ashdown.
Terry said he doesn’t know anything about two teams except for where they are located in the state.
“I’m going to try to watch them Friday night,” Terry said. “I’m sure we will see White Hall again because they are a good team.”
Terry believes if the team can continue to play as they did in the district tournament, they will do well on Saturday.
“We got to get the bats going and continue to play good defense,” Terry said. “With the pitching we’ve got, we’ll be fine.”