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Big inning helps Rabbits tame Panthers

Mark Buffalo Lonoke’s Zack Risner fires a pitch in the fifth inning against Heber Springs.Buy Photo
Mark Buffalo Lonoke’s Zack Risner fires a pitch in the fifth inning against Heber Springs.

HEBER SPRINGS — The Lonoke Jackrabbits improved to 6-4 on the season with an 11-1 win over Heber Springs in the 4A-2 conference opener Friday.

Lonoke pitcher Zack Risner got the win, allowing only one run on three hits in five innings of work. He struck out five.

“Zack had another great outing,” said Lonoke coach Darrick Lowery, who earned his 50th win at Lonoke on Friday. “The last outing he had, he went seven innings and threw about 80 pitches. Tonight, he went five innings and threw about 60 pitches.

“He’s coming in and throwing strikes. He’s having excellent outings and giving us a chance to win.”

The Jackrabbits scored all 11 runs in the third inning. Scoring were Shane Pepper (twice), Christian James, Blake Gooden (twice), Madison James, Risner, Reid McKenzie, Garrett Spears and Nick Watson (twice).

Watson had a three-run double. Risner and Madison James both had a two-run singles.

“What I was most proud of is that we capitalized on mistakes,” Lowery said. “That is something we’ve had a little bit of trouble with this season. I thought we hit the ball very well today.”

The Jackrabbits had six hits. Gooden led Lonoke with two hits.

The win gave Lonoke a leg up on the competition as the teams in the 4A-2 conference are playing only a single round robin this season.

“This is huge to go ahead and jump out 1-0,” Lowery said. “Heber Springs is a good team. They are a very good young team. They are going to be very good in the next couple of years. We took advantage of some mistakes they had today.”

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