Lonoke’s baseball Jackrabbits will attempt to finish a conference sweep of Bauxite on Wednesday when they finish a game that was interrupted by rain last week.
Chris Foor’s team beat the Miners in the opener, 8-5, and trailed in the second, 1-0, when the game was suspended in the bottom of the fifth inning.
“It sounds like a broken record, but we’re young, and when young teams get confidence, they can go on a roll,” Foor said.
In the first game, Lonoke went up 2-0 after the first inning and 7-0 after two. The Jackrabbits finished with eight hits, led by Dalton Smith’s two hits and two RBIs. In the second game, he had the Jackrabbits’ only hit before weather forced a halt.
“We were hitting the ball hard, just right at people,” Foor said. “In that game, we made some really good, fundamentally sound defensive plays. We had two double plays in the first two innings.”
The Jackrabbits were 4-13 overall and 2-5 heading into Tuesday’s conference doubleheader at Baptist Prep.
Lonoke will visit Class 5A Batesville (6-10 at press time) on Friday and play host to Central Arkansas Christian for a conference doubleheader on Tuesday, April 10.
“Batesville is always very well coached,” Foor said. “Their head coach and assistant coach always make them a contender for the (Class) 5A state championship. They usually do the small things very well — bunt, run pick-off plays; they know how to cover bunts — the whole nine yards.
“We’re going to have to play our top game to compete with and beat them.”
The Jackrabbits shared the 2017 combined conference title with CAC’s Mustangs.
“They return two of their main pitchers from last year and their starting second baseman, so they’re going to pitch very well, and from what I’ve seen and heard of them, they’re a team that’s getting better every day,” Foor said. “Like us, they are starting a lot of young kids and trying to learn.”
Also last week, the Jackrabbits lost to Class 5A Pulaski Academy, 2-1. They turned three double plays in the first three innings, but the Bruins got both their runs in the fourth with two outs and the bases loaded on a close call on a throw from shortstop to first.
“He’s easily out by a half-step, but the umpire called him safe,” Foor said. “That’s just how it ended.”
Kade Stuart delivered three hits and one RBI.
Last week’s game with Class 6A Benton was rained out. Foor said he would try to reschedule that one.
“We’d like to play because we think it makes us better,” he said.
Overall, he said his young team seemed to be maturing.
“When you look at how we played against Bauxite and PA, we’re starting to understand the difference between showing up and playing a game and showing up and doing the little things,” Foor said. “It’s starting to click with my younger guys. Our pitching is coming along. Noah Mulligan won the (first) game against Bauxite. Brayden Knox came in after the third inning and closed it out. Will McNeil started the second game, and Dalton Smith went the complete distance against PA.
“We’re starting to attack the strike zone. When you start doing that, play good defense and put the ball in play, I think we’ll continue to roll and grow.”