MOUNTAIN HOME – A one-out single in the first inning was the only hit Trey Bishop would give up for the game in a 9-0 Benton McClendon’s Appliances win over host Mountain Home Hoppers in the Twin Lakes Classic on Friday in Mountain Home. The win pitted Benton (first in its pool) against Jonesboro on Saturday at 4:30 in a single elimination format.
“It was a good performance,” Benton Coach Brandon Wake said of Bishop. “[The hit] was between the third baseman and shortstop. The fastball was working real well for him. Spotting it well and they weren’t getting on it. When they would finally catch up, [Bishop] would throw a breaking ball and catch them off-balance. He worked ahead in the count.”
Bishop would finish giving up just the one hit, one walk and he hit a man, striking out nine in the shutout. The only batter to reach second base against Bishop reached on an error in the second inning.
It was a close game early on as Benton (4-6) scored a run in the first inning on a passed ball, and two in the second inning when both left fielder Tyler Hamilton and second baseman Hunter Wray each reached on walks and would later score to make it a 3-0 McClendon’s lead.
Of course, three runs was two more than Bishop needed, but Benton added six more in the fourth inning when Wray picked up an RBI walk, Jack James singled in a run, and Clay Holicer also picked up an RBI.
“We hit the ball pretty good,” Wake said. “Swung the bats good.”
James’ 2 for 4 day with two runs and an RBI puts him at 8 for 12 (.667) for the tournament with five RBI overall, giving him a chance at the tournament’s batting crown. Hamilton scored twice while going 1 for 2 and catcher Zach Caplinger went 1 for 2 with a run. Holicer and Grayson Chilton each went 1 for 3, and Tyler Lewis went 1 for 4 with a run and RBI, and is batting 5 for 9 for the tourney with five runs scored.
After dropping their first game of the tournament to DeSoto, Mo., 14-3, the McClendon’s have beaten Batesville 6-3 and now Mountain Home 9-0.
“I think after the first day we finally decided to do something a little different; just to keep playing,” Wake said. “You never know. Just keep swinging it and keep pitching it.”
The McClendon’s leaned on starter Jack James’ pitching against Jonesboro on Saturday as Benton likely used several pitchers on Saturday.
“It’s kind of pitching by committee now,” Wake said of the rest of the tournament. “It’s one of those tournament where you have to piece it together.”