NORTH LITTLE ROCK — The Conway Wampus Cats pushed past the Bentonville Tigers in a sloppy 9-6 win at DeJanis Memorial Field in North Little Rock in the second round of the 7A State Tournament.
Tied at six after the top half of the fourth inning, the Wampus Cats pushed across two runs in the bottom of the fourth on senior Jordan Wicks’ ground out to second base before senior Andrew Hreha doubled home senior Matt Lloyd, making the score 8-6.
Conway would push another run across in the bottom of the fifth senior Jack Stroth singled down the right field line, bringing home home junior Cade White, who led off the inning with a single to right field.
The two teams were tied at six through the top of the fourth on several errors.
Bentonville scored three runs in the top of the first inning when Conway junior starter threw a ball wide of first base, allowing Tigers senior leadoff hitter Nathan Lyons and freshman Keegan Allen to score.
Bentonville got their third run in the inning when sophomore Sam Golden reached on a fielder’s choice.
The Wampus Cats rebounded by taking advantage of three Tigers errors.
Lloyd grounded into a fielder’s choice when Lyons stepped on third, but he threw wide of first base, allowing Lloyd to reach and Conway senior Parker Gavazzi to score.
Wicks singled through the shortstop and third base hole, pushing across Stroth.
Another error by Lyons allowed Wicks to reach second base.
Then, Hreha reached on a fielder’s choice, which caused Lloyd to get out.
However, a third error by Lyons in the first inning sent Hreha home before he scored on an RBI single through the middle of the infield by White.
The Tigers would add another run when freshman Payton Allen reached home safely on a play at the plate.
However an outfield assist by Gavazzi to home stopped any more scoring in the second for Bentonville.
Conway struck back with a pair of runs, first on an RBI single to the shortstop by Lloyd after Tigers senior starter Ryan Kneeshaw threw the ball away.
Lloyd then scored when Bentonville junior right fielder Karson Coffee booted the ball.
Conway junior starting pitcher James Hicks held the Tigers scoreless in the third, but Lyons struck back with a long two-run home run that hit a sign behind the left field wall, tying the game at six.
These two runs would be the final runs given up by Conway.
Hicks picked up the win, giving up six runs, four earned, on 10 hits and two walks, while striking out seven in six innings of work.
Wicks came into the seventh inning, striking out two in earning the save.
Kneeshaw was rattled for nine runs, four earned, on seven hits and three walks.
The Wampus Cats will move on to play the winner of Friday’s game between Rogers and Catholic at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in North Little Rock.