May 20, 2015 Edition

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Bobcats are regional runners-up,
finish season at state



Walnut Ridge's Drake Smith makes a catch for an out during the Bobcats' 4-0 victory over Bigelow on Thursday during first-round action of the 2A State Baseball Tournament.
TD Photo ~ Ashley George

Junction City's Chad Butler scored from first base on a one-out double by teammate Peyton Jolley to break a scoreless tie in the bottom of the eighth inning and give the Dragons a 1-0 victory over the Walnut Ridge Bobcats in the second round of the 2A State Baseball Tournament on Friday at Marked Tree.

Despite being held to four hits, Walnut Ridge had several opportunities to score, stranding multiple runners in six different innings.

Walnut Ridge's Layne Ditto gave an outstanding effort on the mound. Ditto held the Dragons to four hits and finished with nine strikeouts.

Ditto also led the Bobcats at the plate, going 2-for-3, while Cash Lee and Drake Smelser each went 1-for-4.

The Bobcats ended the season with a 30-5 record. They were 2A-2 champions in the regular-season and the postseason, and were the Region 2A North runners-up.

First round

Walnut Ridge opened play in the state tournament with a 4-0 shutout win over the Bigelow Panthers on Thursday at Lepanto.

The Bobcats took a 2-0 lead in the third inning. A groundout by Ditto brought home one run. A throwing error by Bigelow allowed a second run to score. Walnut Ridge added single runs in the fourth and sixth innings.

Will Weir pitched a complete game, limiting the Panthers to just three hits, while ringing up 11 strikeouts.

Offensively, Ditto went 1-for-2 with an RBI and scored a run. Michael Bounds went 1-for-2 and scored a run. Lee and Smelser each had a hit. Drake Smith and Luke Wall each scored a run.

Regional final

Riverside's Cody Webb and Kollin Stone combined to pitch a one-hitter as the Rebels defeated Walnut Ridge 2-1 in the title game of the 2A North Regional Tournament on May 12 at Tuckerman.

Riverside scored the game's first run in the top of the fourth inning. Walnut Ridge got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth inning when Chase Baker drove in Luke Wall with the tying run. The Rebels took the lead for good with a run in the top of the sixth inning.

Smelser had the Bobcats' only base hit in the contest.

Wall, Bounds, Ditto and Smith all saw action on the mound for Walnut Ridge, with Wall taking the loss.

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