Updated 

Bears blowout Cardinals, advance to consolation game


The scoreboard at Taylor Field was deceivingly kind to Dollarway, or at least the right side was.

At the end of Friday night’s game with Woodlawn, the scoreboard showed a 1-1 score with five hits for the Bears and three for the Cardinals, who actually had four hits.

The left side showed the harsh truth, though.

Woodlawn, the visitors on the scoreboard, had a score by inning of 5, 1, 8 and 7 to Dollarway’s 0-0-1-0 line.

The killer for Dollarway was the walks and hit batters that helped Woodlawn to a 21-1 win in just four innings in a consolation semifinal of the Billy Bock Classic.

“Our problem is not throwing strikes,” Cardinals coach Greg Cleveland said. “If you had told me before the season we’d have trouble as a staff, I’d have argued with you a long time.”

But that’s been the issue for Dollarway all season as it’s limped to an 0-6 start, and Friday night was no exception. The Cardinals’ pitching staff walked 13 batters and hit four others.

Dollarway starting pitcher Henri Murphy threw three innings, allowing 14 runs (five earned) on five hits with five walks and two hit batsman with three strikeouts.

Fred Wade started the fourth inning and walked all four batters he faced before giving way to Keshun Cross, who issued four walks and hit two batters but managed to finish the inning.

Coach Tommy Richardson was proud of the patience the Bears (5-1) showed at the plate, especially coming off a tough loss to White Hall in the first round.

“Just what I saw,” Richardson said about what he wanted to see out of his team. “I was not wanting them to expand the (strike) zone.

“They did a good job of that. I was pleased.”

When given the chance, Woodlawn showed the pop the middle of its lineup possesses.

Junior J.P. Aiken had a bases-clearing double in the first inning and added a towering solo home run over the scoreboard in the third inning. Senior Jacob Richardson hit a two-run shot to left-center just prior to Aiken’s blast. Richardson’s homer followed up a two-run double by senior Colten Williams.

The big third-inning hits by the trio was part of an eight-run inning that might have never been.

Holding a 6-0 lead, Woodlawn loaded the bases with one out in the frame. Senior Stephen Allbright hit into a fielder’s choice that forced Aiken out at home.

With a chance to get out of the frame unscathed, Murphy coaxed a weak groundball from junior Colby Ferguson. Murphy, though, threw it past first baseman A.J. Alford allowing three runs to score.

After giving up five runs in the top of the first, Dollarway looked to answer in the bottom of the frame.

Alford reached on an error and moved to third on Murphy’s one-out double. Woodlawn’s Taylor Stitt, who threw all four innings, served up a pitch to John Reed, who laced a shot to shortstop that Richardson caught and doubled off Murphy.

“Baseball, God I love it, but it’s a crazy game,” Cleveland said. “I mean they trickle that one out in front of the plate and we throw it away and clear the bases.

“Right before that we blister one right at the shortstop and we get doubled up.”

In the bottom of the third, Dollarway finally got on the board.

After Wade and Deion Hill struck out to open the frame, Alford tripled and scored on a single by Cross. Murphy followed with a single to advance Cross to third.

Murphy stole second to put two runners in scoring position, but John Reed grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning.

The result sets up a couple of conference matchups for Saturday. Dollarway will play Stuttgart in the seventh-place game at 9 a.m. with Woodlawn facing conference rival Hermitage for consolation at 11:30.

“They’re a good team having beaten Stuttgart,” Richardson said of Hermitage. “They are in our conference so we’re familiar with them.

“We were wanting to play somebody different, but they are definitely a good team.”

Hermitage 5, Stuttgart 2

The Ricebirds struck for two runs in the first inning, but was kept off the board the rest of the way.

Hermitage scored once in the bottom of the first, three runs in the third and one in the fourth.

Carter Ward had a pair of hits and a run scored for Stuttgart, while Preston Earlywine had a hit and a run scored.

Kentrez Davis hit a solo home run for the Hermits.

Pine Bluff 7, Harrison 6

The Zebras advanced to the championship game with a narrow win over the Goblins.

Kenneth Gatewood picked up the win and Brandon Lowe notched the save for Pine Bluff (4-0).

Harrison will take on the Watson Chapel JV in the third-place game at 2 p.m. Saturday. Pine Bluff will face White Hall for the championship at 4:30.

There will be a ceremony before the game to honor the Zebras’ 10 state championships in baseball with representatives from all 10 teams set to make an appearance.