Championship game called in first inning
The championship game of the 2011 Central Arkansas Invitational was called Saturday due to poor field conditions.
Benton and Shiloh Christian began playing but didn't finish the first inning after three Panthers pitchers struggled get their footing.
Benton head coach Mark Balisterri stopped the game and called the umpires and Shiloh's coaches over to the mound, where everyone agreed the field's conditions were unsafe to play on.
"They couldn't get a feel at all," Balisterri said. "Their coach agreed. He said their players would've gone through the same thing.
"The umpires said it wasn't safe."
Sophomore Justin Vincent started pitching for the Panthers, but was pulled by Balisterri after facing two batters, who reached base on walks.
Sophomore Carson Holloway replaced Vincent, but was equally uncomfortable on the mound.
"He slipped every time," Balisterri said.
With the bases loaded, a Shiloh batter hit the ball off Holloway's leg, scoring a run.
Shiloh scored five runs before junior Matthew Krikorian relieved Holloway with one out. In all, Shiloh tallied six runs before Balisterri stopped the game.
"There was a couple of inches of wet clay on the mound. Matthew's like 5'3, and he was 5'6 out on the mound," Balisterri said. "I hated it, but it was obvious there was something going on."
Officially, the game was called with neither team winning. Still, Balisterri said his team took a lot away from the tournament.
"It was huge. We beat three quality teams — Sylvan Hills, Fayetteville and Shiloh(Friday). To be able to do that is exactly what we wanted to get out of the tournament and get ready for conference play," Balisterri said.
The Panthers face Texarkana on Tuesday. "They've got one of the best pitchers in the state," he said.
On Friday Benton will play Sheridan. "They've been playing real good, too," Balisterri said.