Conway locked up, and Russellville locked down the 7A-Central lead.

Russellville whisked away from Wampus Cat Field on Friday night with 6-2 baseball victory over Conway.

The Cyclones (7-1) looked and played smaller than the
power teams Russellville renowned in the mid-1990s. However the essentials were the similar: key critical pitch placement and game-changing innings, efficient down to one hit as the difference, a three-run homer.

Conway fell to 11-7 overall and 5-3 in conference play.

“The three-run homer’s the difference,” Conway coach Noel Boucher said. “That and a baserunning error. We were a little bit
overaggressive there.”

Conway had a hit in six of seven innings but grounded into a double
play, left eight runners stranded, wiped out three runners by force outs, and lost one runner to catcher Hayden Hipps' pickoff play and
another on a tag at third base.

“We hit the ball pretty well,” Boucher said. “We hit a lot of balls
they fielded. That’s baseball. It’s a different game if you take away
a baserunning mistake, a whole different game.”

Russellville’s Cody Jones, who struck out two, pitched six innings to
earn the win. Mike Cowles relieved him in the seventh.

“I liked our approach at the plate,” Boucher said. “That guy’s been
getting 10 or 15 strikeouts a game.”

Conway’s Hayden Strickland was effective through three innings,
holding Russellville to a 1-1 tie. Connor Prout tossed two scoreless
innings of relief.

Conway started its conference season with a loss to Russellville. The
Wampus Cats play back-to-back conference games Thursday and Friday next week.

“(The season) is a long way from being over,” Boucher said. “We have
what we have. We aren’t unhappy with what we have.”

Frank Chilino doubled and scored on Derek Berginske’s single in the
first inning, putting the Cyclones ahead 1-0. Conway responded in the
lower half with a run by Jacob Adams on Colin Fluesmeier’s single.
Fluesmeier was picked off with runners at second and third, ending the inning.

Russellville took the lead 3-1 on Eric Turner’s single and James
Reasoner’s sacrifice in the fourth.

Conway countered with a solo home run by Cody Russell in the same
inning, but the Wampus Cats wouldn’t get any closer.

“(Russell’s) been coming along, squaring up a little,” Boucher said.

Birginske skied a three-run homer in the fifth to open the Cyclone lead to 6-2.