CENTERTON -- Bentonville West's baseball team will enjoy its first trip to the Class 7A state tournament in school history, courtesy of Maddox Thornton.
The sophomore ignited a six-run second inning Tuesday afternoon when he ripped a bases-loaded triple, and the Wolverines clinched their postseason berth with an 8-4 victory over Rogers High during 7A-West Conference action at the Wolverine Athletic Complex.
7A-West Baseball Standings
Van Buren 8, Springdale Har-Ber 2
Rogers High 7, Bentonville West 0
Bentonville 12, Rogers Heritage 3
Fayetteville 3, Springdale High 2
Springdale Har-Ber 8, Van Buren 5 (8 innings)
Bentonville West 8, Rogers High 4
Bentonville 4, Rogers Heritage 3
Fayetteville 16, Springdale High 2
"It's a great feeling," West coach Chip Durham said. "These kids have gone through a lot in two years. They've grown up a lot, and they've done a great job of battling and battling. I'm just happy for our program.
"That's the thing about our guys -- we've been behind the eight-ball. We know what it's like to get pounded. We've been under the rock, but these kids have been resilient and fought back. We're playing as hard as we can play, and we've punched our ticket to the playoffs."
Rogers (19-6, 6-3) had a 2-0 after one inning after Matthew Watson's two-out double that was lost in the sun in right field, but that began to change when Jason Gloeckler led off the second with a single. Jaron Jenkins drew a walk, then Hunter Mayes loaded the bases when he faked the bunt and hit a single to left field.
That set the stage for Thornton, who belted a 1-2 pitch into the gap in right-center field and put West ahead for good. Will Jarrett made it 4-2 when he dropped a bunt single and scored Thornton, then Joey Aden's single drove in another run before Seth Schonauer capped the outburst with a sacrifice bunt to score Jarrett.
"I was just trying to put the ball in play and advance the runners," he said. "I wanted to do something to get one on the board. I'm pretty sure he threw me an offspeed pitch. He sped up my bat, I can tell you that. I just went with it, and the ball traveled."
Thornton helped West (16-9, 5-7) extend its lead when he doubled in the third and scored on Dylan Carter's single, then courtesy runner Carl Alexander made it 8-2 when he raced home from second on Jarrett's grounder to second. Rogers then cut it to 8-4 in the fifth on an RBI groundout by Hayden Seldomridge and a single by McKaden Templeton.
The Mounties were robbed of a chance to score in the seventh when Aden made an incredible diving catch on Seldomridge's sinking liner to right-center.
BENTONVILLE WEST 8, ROGERS HIGH 4
A. Watson, Griffin (2), J. Watson (6) and Seldomridge. Carter, Bourg (4), Carroll (5) and Trammell, Carter (5). W-Bourg. L-A. Watson. HR-None.
Bentonville High 4, Rogers Heritage 3
Andrew Nagelson's sixth-inning double drove in Devin Hearn with the decisive run as Bentonville edged Heritage at the Tiger Athletic Complex.
The Tigers (12-9, 5-5) were held hitless until pinch-hitter Brooks McDowell led off the sixth with a single to left. Hearn then entered the game and scored when Nagelson belted his double to right.
Nagelson drove in a run earlier with one of Bentonville's two sacrifice flies. Austin Garrett held Heritage (4-19, 0-12) to just four hits and allowed just one earned run while striking out four.
Ryan Carlson singled and drove in two runs for Heritage, while Jeb Brown took the loss, allowing four runs (two earned) on just two hits over 5.2 innings. He struck out two and walked four.
Fayetteville 16, Springdale 2
Fayetteville scored five runs in both the fourth and sixth innings to defeat Springdale, which was eliminated from postseason play.
Emory Kincaid and Jeff Sinacore each had two hits for Fayetteville, which outhit Springdale 10-5. Luke Davenport struck out three in four innings to earn the victory.
Springdale Har-Ber 8, Van Buren 5 (8)
The Wildcats rallied for three runs in the seventh inning, then scored three in the eighth to slip past Van Buren and earn a split of the two-game series.
Har-Ber (23-4, 10-2) trailed 5-2 before Blake Adams blasted a two-out, three-run double in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game at 5-5. Adams' hit scored Jackson Riley, Hunter Wood and Blaze Brothers.
The Wildcats tacked on three more in the eighth, using three walks and two singles to plate the runs.
Blake Benson went the distance to earn the win, and Landry Wilkerson took the loss.
Brothers, Mac McCrosky and Trevor Brown had two hits each for Har-Ber. Chase Moore was 2-for-4 with two doubles for Van Buren. Dakota Peters and Jackson Hurst also had two hits each.
Preps Basketball on 04/25/2018
Print Headline: Wolverines secure state tournament berth