May 15, 2013 Edition

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The Walnut Ridge Bobcat baseball team won the 2A North Regional Tournament last week in Tuckerman. The Bobcats defeated East Poinsett County, McCrory and Riverside to earn the title. Taking part in the trophy presentation include (front, from left): Jax Kennedy, Peyton Hicks, Walker Ward and Dawson Ward; (second row) Rowdy Ditto, Martin Crisler, Lane Kennedy, Payton Poole, Hunter Flippo, Eric Wilcoxson, Cash Lee, Range Weeks, Alli Bramlett, Zach Crisler, Ryan Vaughn; (back) head coach Derek Bramlett, assistant coach Jason Ward, Preston Aaron, Tyler Andrews, Luke Wall, Cole Hicks, Drake Smith, Drake Smelser, Baron Estes, Layne Ditto, and assistant coach Luke Guenrich.

Bobcats end banner baseball season



Payton Poole makes a catch to help the Bobcats advance to the semifinals of the state tournament with a 5-3 second-round victory over Conway Christian at Parkers Chapel High School in El Dorado on Friday.


Walnut Ridge's Lane Kennedy tags out a Magnet Cove runner in the first round of the Class 2A State Baseball Tournament on Thursday in Junction City. The Bobcats won the game 3-0.
Submitted Photos ~ Ashley George

Nathan Hibbard
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge Bobcats enjoyed another banner season on the baseball diamond in 2013. The season ended Saturday with a 9-2 loss to the Dierks Outlaws in the semifinals of the 2A State Tournament in El Dorado.

Rowdy Ditto, Cash Lee and Zach Crisler each had two hits for the Bobcats.

Walnut Ridge used four pitchers in the game, who allowed a season-high nine runs, while walking 11 batters.

The Bobcats finished the season with a 29-7 record. They won titles in the Lawrence County, district and regional tournaments.

Quarterfinals

Walnut Ridge overcame an early deficit to defeat Conway Christian 5-3 in the quarterfinal round on Friday.

Layne Ditto was the winning pitcher. He allowed three runs on five hits, while striking out four batters in a complete-game effort.

First round

The Bobcats opened play in the state tournament with a 3-0 shutout of Magnet Cove on Thursday at Junction City.

Walnut Ridge scored all of their runs in the bottom of the first inning. Eric Wilcoxson and Crisler singled to begin the rally. Hunter Flippo then singled home Wilcoxson with the game's first run. Lane Kennedy and Layne Ditto followed with RBI singles.

The lead held up behind the pitching of Baron Estes and Range Weeks. Estes allowed one hit and struck out six in 4-1/3 innings of work. Weeks came on to pitch the final 2-2/3 innings, giving up four hits and striking out three.

Regional champs

After surviving an eight-inning nail-biter in first round, the Walnut Ridge Bobcats posted two blowout wins on May 7 to win the 2A North Regional Baseball Tournament at Tuckerman.

First round

Walnut Ridge opened the tournament against East Poinsett County on May 6. The Bobcats got on the scoreboard first taking a 2-0 lead in the second inning. The Warriors tied the contest with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning.

No one scored in the remainder of regulation play and the teams went to the eighth inning still deadlocked at 2-2.

After Walnut Ridge pitcher Layne Ditto held the Warriors scoreless in the top of the eighth, the Bobcat bats came to life in the bottom of the inning. Payton Poole and Range Weeks each came through with one-out singles to give the Cats runners on first and second. Rowdy Ditto then singled home Poole with the winning run and a 3-2 Walnut Ridge victory.

Layne Ditto turned in a strong complete-game performance on the mound for the Bobcats, scattering seven hits and allowing two runs. He had 12 strikeouts while walking only one batter.

Poole led Walnut Ridge at the plate, going 2-for-3 and scoring two runs. Cash Lee, Zach Crisler, Weeks, Rowdy Ditto and Lane Kennedy each had one hit. Rowdy Ditto had the Cats' only RBI, and Weeks scored one run.

Semifinals

Walnut Ridge used the long ball to subdue the McCrory Jaguars 12-3 in the regional semifinals on the afternoon of May 7.

Eric Wilcoxson had two home runs and finished with three RBIs. Hunter Flippo had a three-run homer, and Poole added a solo blast. Layne Ditto and Lee each had two hits.

Ryan Vaughn pitched a complete game, allowing three runs on four hits, while striking out five.

Finals

The Bobcats needed just five innings to claim the regional title, blanking Riverside 12-0 in the finals on the evening of May 7.

Crisler was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate and scored three runs. Wilcoxson had two hits and three RBIs. Layne Ditto had three hits and scored two runs.

Crisler was also the winning pitcher, giving up two hits and striking out eight.

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