Magnolia needed something to lift it up Thursday afternoon and got it by way of a walk-off three-run homer in the seventh inning.
“This was an unbelievable game and I was really proud of the way our guys hung in there,” Magnolia head coach Bobby Beeson said following the 4-1 victory over Arkansas High at Panther Field.
“I thought we did what we needed to do to get the win,” he said.
The battle was scoreless for six innings before Arkansas High’s Nick Vaughn managed to get an RBI single in the top of the seventh that gave the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Three days ago, the Panthers were leading 1-0 in the seventh at Lake Hamilton, but gave up two runs after two outs in the bottom half to lose the contest.
In the bottom of the seventh Thursday and trailing by a run, Adam Pieratt led off with a stand-up double.
Cade Lindsey added a single after Blake Bohannan struck out, followed by Garrett Clark’s fly-out to right field.
The Panthers had runners at second and third when Connor Harrington came to the plate with two outs.
He battled a full count before eventually drawing a walk. The pitch got away from the Razorback catcher, allowing a Magnolia runner to score and tie the battle at 1-1.
With two runners still on base and two outs, junior Payton Campbell sent Dylan Adcox’s first pitch over the left-field fence.
“This was probably one of the better defensive games we’ve played all season,” said Beeson, who praised Arkansas High’s Adcox.
“Texarkana has a good pitcher in him. He commanded both sides of the plate and threw good pitches, making it difficult for us offensively,” he said.
Beeson also had great things to say about his pitching staff.
“Our pitching staff has to carry us because we haven’t been hitting the ball very well lately,” he said.
Halen Sanders got the start and kept the Razorbacks off the scoreboard. Eight times he forced AHS batters to hit infield grounders, which resulted in outs.
He was pulled in the bottom of the fourth when the Razorbacks managed to load the bases with one out, but Harrington forced a batter to hit an infield grounder that resulted in a double play.
“I’ll say it again. Right now, we have to have good pitching and good defense to have a chance at winning,” said Beeson. “If we don’t, we will have to score 12 or more. That’s not happening right now because we are not hitting the ball well as a team.”
Beeson said the Panthers’ last two games do nothing but prepare them for what’s ahead.
“I told the kids we are going to see that in district and state tournaments,” he noted.
Besides the home run, Campbell also had a stand-up double in the first inning. He was thrown out at home plate after a fly ball by Kyle Carver to right field.
Pieratt also finished the day with two hits.
Harrington drew a pair of walks and got a single, while Kyle Carver, Dayton Dickson and Lindsey had singles.
Magnolia (12-4, 7-2 conference) plays at Hope Tuesday before playing their final three regular-season games at home.