WHITE HALL — White Hall’s Antoine Luster had just one walk in his spectacular outing against Hot Springs on Wednesday.
The lone base on balls to Walker Glisson with one out in the second inning was immediately canceled out by a strike ’em out-throw ’em out double play to end the frame.
The play seemed to kick-start Luster as the junior struck out eight of the final nine Hot Springs batters on his way to a five-inning, no-hitter in White Hall’s 10-0 home win.
“After that I felt it,” Luster said. “I just kept throwing strikes.
“It pumped us up and helped us out tremendously.”
The momentum from the double play carried over to the White Hall offense, too.
In the bottom of the second, the Bulldogs (7-6, 3-2 in 5A-South) loaded the bases with nobody out. After Jake Green struck out, junior Daniel Sprinkle hit a towering flyball that carried over the centerfield fence.
“Yes, I knew it was gone,” Sprinkle said. “But, I’ve got to give props to my teammates.
“I’ve been struggling at the plate a bit and they keep giving me confidence.”
Speaking of confidence, Luster was radiating it on the mound Wednesday afternoon. That confidence, though, wasn’t really carrying over to the batter’s box.
Luster was 1 for 3 — courtesy of an infield hit — when he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning with a chance to end the game early and sew up a no-hitter.
When Luster stepped to the dish, White Hall had a 9-0 lead and runners on first and second with nobody out needing just one run to initiate the mercy-rule.
Luster sent a 1-0 pitch between the third baseman and shortstop as Brewer Owen came around to score.
“I was waiting for it,” Luster said of the opportunity. “I wanted to come through in my last time to try and hit him in.”
The walkoff hit felt great but it couldn’t overshadow Luster’s top-notch pitching performance. Not surprisingly, White Hall coach Skip Carr was impressed with his pitcher’s outing.
“What he did today,” Carr said, “was just so impressive.
“Staying around the plate, his off-speed pitch was working and he had all the Hot Springs hitters off-balance.”
Luster finished with 11 strikeouts and three groundouts. All told, eight of the nine Trojan batters struck out at least once.
Carr thinks the momentum from Tuesday’s win should carry over to Friday’s conference game at Hope.
“We see they’re focused,” Carr said of his team. “They’re doing what we’re trying to do.
“We know it’s sinking in, and we hope it carries over to Friday.”
After an 0-3 showing at a tournament in Batesville, Sprinkle, who finished 1 for 1 with a pair of walks, said the Bulldogs were ready to get back on the diamond.
“We were hungry to get back,” Sprinkle said. “We’re glad we got this win.
“Now it’s time to carry it over to Hope.”