Soon-to-be ninth grader Layne Hartsfield tallied three RBIs and went four innings on the mound as White Hall defeated Hamburg 10-2 in the first round of the Babe Ruth 15-year-old state tournament at Taylor Field on Friday.
“The ball was a like beach ball to me,” Hartsfield said. “I was hitting it pretty well. I didn’t see very many curveballs and I saw a lot of fastballs.”
Hartsfield finished the day 3 for 4 with two doubles, three RBIs and three runs scored.
“I had a bunch of base hits in front me, helping me out,” Hartsfield said, “motivating me to do better.
“I was trying to help myself on the mound.”
Hartsfield earned the win after allowing just two runs (both earned) on seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts.”
“He’ll be starting at the high school next year, in my opinion,” White Hall manager Russ Sparks said. “But I’m not the head coach of the high school team.”
Hartsfield, 14, was suffering with a minor headache heading into the fifth inning. He gave up a single and a double before Sparks pulled him.
“His pitch count got up to 75, so we decided to go ahead and pull him,” Sparks said. “Because we’ve got a long tournament to go and he is one of our main pitchers.
“But I thought (Garrett) Blaylock came in and did a great job.”
Blaylock pitched the final three innings and allowed just one hit with five strikeouts.
“That was really the first game we’ve played as a team,” Hartsfield said. “And I think we did pretty good.”
Hartsfield led off the second with a double and later scored on an RBI single by Dutton Day to give White Hall an early 1-0 lead.
After Hamburg tied the game in the top of the third, White Hall answered with three runs on three hits to take a 4-1 lead.
“We have been hitting well in practice,” Sparks said. “Our bats have been the biggest part of our game.
“Tonight was really good.”
Hamburg’s Alex Grice lasted 2 1/3 innings in the loss. He allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits with two walks and no strikeouts.
White Hall scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning thanks to three Hamburg errors and a two-run single by Hartsfield. It gave White Hall an 8-1 cushion.
“We are a very fast team,” Hartsfield said. “We have a lot of speed on our team and we can outrun a lot of it when they make mistakes.
“(Those errors) just changed the momentum of the game.”
White Hall added a run in the fifth and sixth inning.
They will play the winner of today’s Pine Bluff Northern/Camden game at 8 p.m. Sunday. Camden defeated Twin City 5-1 on Friday.
“That (win) was a very good up boost for us,” Hartsfield said.
Chase Bryan walked twice and scored two runs for White Hall and Dylan Cantwell had a single, a walk and two runs scored.