By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY
Clarksville scored five runs during the first two innings and hang on for an 8-5 win against the Heber Springs Panthers in a 4-4A Conference baseball game at the Heber Springs Sports Complex Monday.
The defeat and Tuesday’s 8-7 loss at Dardanelle dropped the Panthers (3-7 in conference, 4-12 overall) to fifth place in the conference standings.
“We let up during the first inning,” Heber Springs coach Monterio May said following the loss to Clarksville. “We picked it up before the end of the inning, but it was too little, too late. We have been trying to instill in the players that the game is not over until it’s over. We need to come out and play with more intensity early in the game.”
Righthander J.T Spears, who was the losing pitcher, allowed seven hits, eight runs and had four strikeouts and one walk in 5.1 innings. Corbin Jones relieved Spears and permitted one hit and struck out one batter in 1.2 inning.
“Spears did what was expected and gave us a chance at winning,” May said. “He is turning into a diamond in the rough and he’s only a sophomore. J.T. throws all of his pitches for strikes, and he has a chance to become an even better pitcher in the future.”
John-Foster Case, Landon Leeds and Dakota Palsey hit RBI singles during the top of the first inning. Leeds scored later on Cole Chrisman’s sacrifice fly.
Heber Springs scored one run in the bottom of the inning.
Garrett Hudspeth was hit by a pitch and moved into scoring position by stealing second base. Hudspeth later scored on an infield out.
After Clarksville scored one run in the top of the second for a 5-1 lead, the Panthers kept close in the bottom of the inning. Xander Lindley reached on an error, Spears hit a single and the runners advanced on a passed ball. Lindley came home on an infield out. Spears scored on Hudspeth’s double and reduced Clarksville lead to 5-3.
Clarksville scored one run in the top of the fifth, but the Panthers matched it during the bottom half of the inning.
Kenan Sneed reached on a fielder’s choice and then he scored on Cole Payton’s RBI triple.
Clarksville added two runs during the sixth inning and increased its lead to 8-4.
Heber Springs’ final run came in the bottom of the seventh on a bases-loaded walk to Lindley.
The Panthers are scheduled to host Bald Knob in a non-conference game at 4:30 p.m. Thursday and play a conference game at Subiaco Academy on Friday.
Clarksville 410 012 0–8 12 2
Heber Springs 120 010 1–5 5 2
Clarksville hitters — Alex Snow 4 singles, 1 stolen base; John-Foster Case single, double, 2 RBIs; Landon Leeds 2 singles, 2 RBIs, 1 stolen base; Easton Burkett single, 1 1 RBI, 1 stolen base; Dakota Pasley single, 1 RBI; Cole Chrisman single, 1 RBI; Gabe Kremers single, 1 stolen base.
Clarksville pitchers — Dakota Pasley (W) 2 hits, 4 runs, 1 earned run, 3 strikeouts, 3 walks in 4.2 innings; John-Foster Case 2 hits, 1 run, 5 strikeouts, 1 walk in 2.1 innings.
Heber Springs hitters — Garrett Hudspeth single, double, 1 RBI, 1 stolen base; Cole Payton triple, 2 RBIs; J.T. Spears single, 1 RBI; Kenan Sneed single; Xander Lindley 1 RBI; Corbin Jones 1 RBI.
Heber Springs pitchers — J.T Spears (L) 7 hits, 8 runs, 7 earned runs, 4 strikeouts, 1 walk in 5.1 innings; Corbin Jones 1 hit, 1 strikeout in 1.2 inning.