For 4 1/2 innings, the third-ranked Lonoke Jackrabbits seemed to be in big trouble in their non-conference game with Vilonia on Monday.
But the Jackrabbits erased a four-run deficit to beat the Eagles 9-5 at the Lonoke Ball Park. The Jackrabbits are now 12-5 on the season.
Vilonia led 5-1 after the top of the fifth inning. The Jackrabbits committed five errors in the first five innings. Those miscues led to three unearned runs.
Lonoke’s only run in the first four innings came in the bottom of the third. Nick Graves was hit by a pitch and scored on a single by Christian James.
Lonoke took a 7-5 lead in the bottom of the fifth when the Jackrabbits plated six runs. Garrett Spears and Graves led off with singles. They both scored on a double by Shane Pepper.
Two batters later, Blake Gooden reached on a fielder’s choice, which allowed Pepper to score. Guy Halbert singled and Madison James reached on an error. Zack Risner then singled to load the bases. Halbert scored on an infield single by Reid McKenzie. Essick Shephard, running for Madison James, scored on a bases-loaded walk to Spears. Risner then scored on a single by Graves.
Christian James retired the Eagles in order in the top of the sixth before the Jackrabbits plated two more runs to lead 9-5.
Christian James reached on an error and scored on a passed ball. Gooden doubled and scored on a single by Madison James.
Gooden pitched the seventh, allowing two base runners but none got past first base as he earned a save.
Pepper got credit for the win, pitching the fifth inning.
“I told the kids that the biggest thing I was proud of is that we fought back,” Lonoke coach Darrick Lowery said. “The first five innings, we looked terrible. They [Vilonia] did everything they needed to do play smart and took advantage of our mistakes.”
Monday’s game was the Jackrabbits’ first game since beating Pine Bluff Dollarway on April 1.
“We hadn’t been outside in a week,” Lowery said. “We hadn’t really practiced in a week. I expected to have a little bit of rust. I didn’t expect it to be that bad.”
The Jackrabbits host the Stuttgart Ricebirds today at 4:30 p.m. in a key 4A-2 conference game.