Tigers crush County Line
PINE BLUFF— The Armorel Tigers took a 14-4 victory over the County Line Indians on Thursday afternoon.
The Tigers held a 9-1 lead over the Indians heading into the top of the fifth before longtime Tigers head coach Charlie Brown pulled starting pitcher Brock Elliott.
“(Elliott) pounded the zone,” Brown said. “One thing about this bunch was they were a good hitting team and they swung it well and he did a good job of keeping them off the bases.”
Brown called upon senior Seth Wyatt to get the final out of the inning. The Indians’ batter would fly out to Brett Alan Harris, junior left fielder, to end the inning. After the Tigers scored a run to bring the lead to nine, Brown called upon senior pitcher Logan Blankenship to end the game in six innings and save the Tigers arms. Blankenship gave up three runs on five hits.
“We were trying to end it in five inningsm and we were trying to save pitches for our first pitcher. It didn’t quit work out 100 percent like we wanted to but in the end it worked out well,” Brown said.
The Tigers got the chance to end the game in the sixth inning, needing four runs. The Indians would walk three Tiger batters (Harris, Elliott and Andrew Lannon) and hit senior Jared Wyatt with a pitch to load the bases for Blankenship. Blankenship would hit a single that would drive in two runs bringing the Tigers lead to 13-4.
Wyatt then came to the plate with two outs and runners on second (Blankenship) and third (Lannon) after the Indians pitcher balked. Wyatt would knock a single into left for a walk-off hit.
“We saved pitches for Brock and we ended up 10- running him in six innings, and we will take that any day,” Brown said.
Leading the Tigers offensively were Lannon ( three runs scored and an RBI), Blaine McCormick ( two runs scored), Blankenship ( 2-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs), S. Wyatt ( 3-3 with a run scored and an RBI), Connor Walls (run scored), Harris ( 1-2 and two runs scored), Wesley Walls ( 1-4 with an RBI), Elliott ( run scored) and Jared Wyatt ( 1-3 with two runs scored).
The Tigers will look to play a familiar opponent, the Taylor Tigers, in the elite eight game that was scheduled for 2:30 Friday. However, after thunderstorms swept through the state of Arkansas on Thurday night all games were pushed back until Saturday and Monday.
“It is what it is there,” Brown said. “ It’ll help everyone pitching and so we will see how it goes. It’s baseball, the team that adjusts gives itself the chance to win and the team that doesn’t adjust gets beat.”
Armorel and Taylor have seen each other numerous times the last decade. The Tigers from Taylor defeated Browns’ 2004 Tigers in the state championship game, 9-3, in the first ever battle of the two teams. Taylor also won in 2009 in the state final four game. However, Armorel would take the next two match-ups in the 2010 quarterfinals and the opening round in 2011. Browns’ 2011 Tigers would go on to win his second state title. Taylor defeated Armorel in the 2013 Final Four game, 5-4, after Armorel held a, 4-1, lead heading into the final inning of play. However, Brown’s Tigers revenged the Final Four loss two seasons later in the 2015 State Championship game at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville when Browns’ Tigers shutout Taylor, 10-0, for Armorel’s third title since the 2006 season.
The Taylor Tigers are coached by Robby Frizzell, who coached all five of Taylor’s state championship programs, and they hold a 23-6 record coming into the Elite Eight matchup.
“I’m not sure who (Frizzell) will pitch, I’m pretty sure they’ll probably throw the (Ryan) Downs kid,” Brown said. “He’s a very good pitcher and one of the best in the state. They’ll be fundamental sound and it will come down to who does a better job of executing, us or them, and that is who will win.”