Panthers dominate, play for title shot

Benton junior Jared Kelley tags out an attempting base-stealer in the Panthers 7-1 victory over Texarkana in the quarterfinals of the 6A State Tournament. The Panthers play the Jonesboro Hurricane today at 2:30 p.m. at Panthers Field in Benton. TONY LENAHAN/The Saline CourierBenton senior Ross Carver takes a cut in the Panthers 7-1 victory over Texarkana. TONY LENAHAN/The Saline Courier
Tony Lenahan
Sports Editor

BENTON – The Benton Panthers will be playing for a shot at the 6A State Championship today after downing the West 6 seed Texarkana Razorbacks 7-1 in the quarterfinals Saturday at Panthers Field in Benton. The West No. 2 seed Panthers will take on the East No. 1 seed Jonesboro Hurricane today at 2:30 p.m. to play for the title.
Senior starting pitcher Ross Carver hit and pitched his way to the victory as he struck out 12 Razorbacks in 6.2 innings, giving up one run on just two hits and two walks. Carver would also go 2 for 3 with his 2-run double in the first inning ending up being the only runs the Panthers (18-14) would need on the day.
“Ross did a great job on the mound,” Benton Coach Mark Balisterri said. “He started out and had that little slip and fall and bad throw, but other than that, he was pretty good.”
After Carver struck out the side in the top of the first inning, junior Drew Chilton led the bottom of the inning off with a single to left field and went to third on senior Coltyn Lane’s double to right to put runners at second and third. Two batters later, Carver doubled both runs home for the early 2-0 lead after one.
Livestream video for today’s game will be available at Click the central Arkansas region and there will be a link to stream the game. First pitch is 2:30 p.m. at Panthers Field.