BASEBALL: Sheridan knocks off defending champs

With runners on first and second and two outs in the seventh inning, a routine ground ball to second went through the legs of Lake Hamilton’s second baseman, which allowed the runner on second to score and tie the game.

The throw from left field to the catcher sailed and allowed Billy Wicker to easily score from third and give Sheridan a 7-6 win over defending 6A State Champion Lake Hamilton Tuesday night.

“Getting a win like that was big,” coach Mike Moore said. “To hit like did off their really good pitching was huge.
“It might have taken a little bit of luck to beat them, but it is a really big deal for us to beat them and get off to a good start [in conference]. Hopefully we can keep things rolling.”

Lake Hamilton scored three runs in the top of the seventh to take a one run lead. The Wolves brought in relief pitcher Cody Jackson, who walked lead off batter Zach Perkins. After a pop up, Jackson preceded to walk Wicker to put runners on first and second with just one out.

Jake Smith’s ground ball through the legs of the second baseman tied the game, and even though Wicker was told to hold at third after the high throw to the back stop, he scored easily to win the game.

Sheridan and Lake Hamilton split the games last season each with both teams winning games on the road, including Lake Hamilton’s extra inning win at Sheridan. The Wolves beat the Yellowjackets in the semifinals of the 6A State Tournament at Benton High School.

“I think we got a little bit of frustration off our chests,” Moore said. “I think we were lucky. But I think we are really good, too. It helps to be both lucky and good.
“We were really fortunate to win.”

Moore said he couldn’t really believe they won since the game had been so back and forth.

“One moment I think we are going to win easily and then I think we are going to lose,” Moore said. “Our kids hung in there and kept battling. We had some good things happen for us right there at the end.”

The Yellowjackets led 4-3 after four innings and added another run in the sixth after Justin Willis hit a one-out double and scored on a base hit by Nick Ware.

Grady Finley threw and allowed three runs on five hits in four innings with three strikeouts. Perkins, Sheridan’s relief pitcher, pitched three innings, allowing four hits with four hit batters with two walks and a strikeout.

“Those two had never pitched in varsity games before this year,” Moore said. “They were just really nervous, but they are both going to get better and better as the season progresses.
“The more they are in this situation, the better they will get at handling them.”

Willis had two hits and an RBI, while Perkins had three hits with a walk and Jake Smith had two hits. As a team, Sheridan had 12 hits.

The Yellowjackets improve to 8-1 (1-0 6A South) and will play Monticello at home today and play at Little Rock Fair on Friday.