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BENTON -- Sheridan's bats and defense made Tyler Cacciatori's job on the mound a ton easier Monday at Everett Field.

Cacciatori's right arm made it tough on White Hall's batters all afternoon.

Cacciatori faced only one batter over the minimum, tossing a one-hitter against the Bulldogs in a 10-0, five-inning victory in the semifinals of Class 5A state baseball tournament.

"[Cacciatori] was getting ahead in the count, and he was getting good balance," Sheridan Coach Mike Moore said. "When his balance is good, it puts 2 or 3 more miles per hour on his fastball. He also had master command of his slider. He was just going after them."

Cacciatori used 59 pitches to send the Yellowjackets (25-5) to this weekend's championship game in Fayetteville. He struck out four but relied mainly on a flawless showing from the Sheridan defense and was backed by a 12-hit performance.

The Sheridan junior retired the first 14 batters he faced before giving up a hard-hit single down the third-base line by White Hall's Josh Looney. Cacciatori said the Bulldogs' late hit did not dampen his effort.

"It's pretty easy to pitch when your team puts up 10 runs and 12 hits," said Cacciatori, who collected three of those hits and drove in two runs. "It gives you all the confidence in the world. You don't have to be nervous when you're on the mound."

"He wasn't going to let anybody take this from us," Moore said. "That's the way he pitched today."

Sheridan's dozen hits included three triples -- one by Cacciatori and two from sophomore Brandon Arledge, who finished 3 for 3 with 3 RBI.

"That felt good," Arledge said of his triples. "I was putting them in the gap. I've been working a lot on my swing recently, and it was nice to see the results."

Arledge opened the second inning with a line drive to the left-center field wall off of White Hall starter Baylor Owen. Junior Jackson Storey followed with a run-scoring single for the Yellowjackets' 1-0 lead.

Sheridan added four runs in the third. Cacciatori's triple scored Haydn Finley, who started the rally with a leadoff single. Arledge made it 4-0 with a two-run triple. A wild pitch brought in the fourth run of the inning.

Two wild pitches, a walk and singles by Finley, Cacciatori, Arledge and Ruston Johnson helped Sheridan put up four more runs in the fourth. The Yellowjackets brought the game to an early end when Cacciatori's third hit drove in Montana Korte for the 10-run lead.

Sheridan's defense also was impressive, with junior Brayden Sites turning four slowly hit ground balls into outs at first base. Sites was a defensive-only player in the Yellowjackets' lineup Monday.

"I'm really proud of Brayden," Moore said. "He's been in our lineup all spring but he's struggled a little offensively. We went to him and told him we're going to make a change and he hasn't missed a beat. As a matter of fact, he's stepped it up on defense."

"Our shortstop played great," Cacciatori said. "[Trace Watkins] played great at third base. Even the one hit they got, [Watkins] laid out trying to make the play."

White Hall (18-12) was shut out for the first time since March 7.

"If we keep playing like this, it will be hard for us to lose," Cacciatori said. "Benton, Texarkana and Hot Springs Lakeside are all in our conference, and they all won games in the state tournament. That just shows you how tough our conference was."

Sports on 05/14/2019

Print Headline: Cacciatori, Sheridan defense nearly flawless with big lead

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