Barker, Benton shut down Wildcats

Benton senior Jesse Barker throws a pitch in a 4-1 win over El Dorado Tuesday at Everett Field at Panther Stadium in Benton. Barker threw a complete game for the win. GREG DAVIS/Special to The Saline Courier
Sports Editor

The Benton Panthers have all but sewn up the No. 2 seed in the 5A State Tournament after defeating the El Dorado Wildcats 4-1 Tuesday at Everett Field at Panther Stadium in Benton. With the victory, Benton moves to 19-5 overall, 10-3 in the 5A South, two games behind first-place Sheridan and a game and a half up on third-place Texarkana.
On Tuesday, it was senior Jesse Barker just ‘doing what he does,’ according to Benton Head Coach Mark Balisterri, after shutting down the Wildcats (15-10, 7-6) and denying them a spot in the state tourney. Barker gave up just one run on two hits and no walks, striking out six in seven complete innings. He needed just 79 pitches.
“He just did what he does,” Balisterri said of his senior starter. “He threw a lot of strikes and got people out. He had a no-hitter going into the fifth and they got two hits in a row off of him that were kind of dink hits. Jesse just does a great job of commanding the zone."
Read the rest in Wednesday's The Saline Courier