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Rabbits rally to beat Ricebirds; face Clinton for conference title

Lonoke’s Nick Watson gets a hit against Stuttgart last week. (Photo by Darren Johnson)
Lonoke’s Nick Watson gets a hit against Stuttgart last week. (Photo by Darren Johnson)

The Lonoke Jackrabbits broke open a close game in the top of the seventh to beat the Stuttgart Ricebirds 5-1 on Thursday, April 20. With the win, Lonoke is now 10-6 overall and 5-0 in 4A-2 league play.

The score was tied 1-1 after four innings. The score remained that way until Lonoke scored four runs in the top of the seventh. Christian James led off with a single and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Nick Graves.

Nick Watson followed with his second double of the game, driving in James with the go-ahead run. Two batters later, Cody Martin reached on an error, driving in Watson with the third run of the game. Casey Martin drove in his brother with a triple and he eventually scored on a passed ball to account for the scoring.

Lonoke pitcher Mikey Shinn allowed only one base runner in the bottom of the seventh but he was stranded at first base to end the game.

Stuttgart scored its only run of the game in the bottom of the first. Lonoke tied it at 1-1 in the top of the fourth. Watson doubled and scored on a single by Casey Martin.

Watson and Casey Martin each had three hits to lead the Jackrabbits. Collecting two hits each were Pierce Johnson and James.

Shinn got the win as he went the distance, allowing one unearned run on seven hits. He struck out three.

“It was a huge win,” Lonoke coach Darrick Lowery said. “Mikey pitched a complete game. There was only one inning where he struggled a little bit to find the strike zone. The defense played well behind him and gave us a chance to win. And our bats finally came alive in the seventh inning to really take the lead and put them away.”

Lonoke plays Clinton for the conference title at the Lonoke Ball Park today at 5 p.m. Both teams are undefeated in league action.

“I would love to have a big crowd,” Lowery said. “It would be a great deal of support for our boys. These guys have worked extremely hard. Clinton is going to be a very tough opponent for us. They swing the bat well and always play great defense. We’re going to need as much help as we can get.”

No matter what happens Thursday or in the 4A-2 district tournament, Lonoke will play in the Class 4A East Region tournament in two weeks at the Lonoke Ball Park be finishing either first or second in league play.

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