Zuber gives Little Rock the blues

WHITE HALL — Tyler Zuber limited Little Rock to three hits in Friday’s second-round action of the Freddie Wetzler Tournament as PBNB belted the Blues 10-0 at White Hall High School.

Zuber faced the minimum through three, fanned four and issued only one walk in the complete-game effort as PBNB (8-0) remained perfect on the season.

“I felt like I had command of everything tonight,” the White Hall senior-to-be said. “I felt it when I came in. I didn’t know if I was going to get the start or not. When they told me I was going to start I knew it was on.”

Zuber gave Little Rock (4-4) the blues early, coercing five ground-ball outs and recording all four of his strikeouts in the first three frames. He retired the first two batters of the fourth before surrendering a solid single to center by Joey Abraham to break up a potential no-hit bid. He then allowed back-to-back hits in the fifth, a single to Derek Grimmett and double to Kevin Garner.

“I started leaving my pitches up and they started hitting them,” Zuber said. “I made a little adjustment in the fifth inning and started working the ball down.”

PBNB coach Skip Carr said Zuber’s effort was just as effective as his junior season for White Hall.

“He hasn’t taken a break,” Carr said. “He’s been throwing bullpens after we played (in the AAA 5A title game) and he’s kept working. We were working on some pitches tonight. He was throwing a few more breaking pitches and change-ups and he did a great job with all of them.”

Little Rock coach Jordan Knight credited White Hall’s program but said his squad did not perform to their potential.

“Obviously, we have the upmost respect for the program here at White Hall,” Knight said. “But coming from Little Rock Central, we have a little pride in ourselves coming out of the 7A-Central conference and the tradition that comes with that. We should be able to compete with anyone on any given day.

“But we didn’t come into the ballpark tonight ready to play. We weren’t ready mentally. We didn’t have the pride and we didn’t have the passion.”

Little Rock’s pitching didn’t help as Garner and reliever Justin Jackson issued six walks and hit three while giving up a combined eight hits, led by Austin Lewis’ two-hit, two-RBI performance. Lewis also scored three times.

“You can’t give any team that many free passes and expect to do well,” Knight said. “That will get you beat every time.”

PBNB only got two runs from the top of the order, but the bottom four combined for five hits, eight runs and three RBI’s.

“We started hitting good when we went into the state tournament,” said Hunter Hale, who singled in two runs in the fourth. “We can hit from one to nine and we have guys on the bench that can do the same. We just need to keep hitting the ball like we are capable of.”

Tanner Attwood also picked up a pair of hits for PBNB, including a double in the three-run fourth.