Van Buren finishes the regular season with a win.
The Van Buren Pointers will take momentum into the Class 7A state tournament.
Van Buren knocked off conference champion Fayetteville to close out the regular season with a 7-5 win on Tuesday night at Iverson Riggs Field at the Field of Dreams.
Van Buren (18-5, 9-5) will be either the third or the fourth seed from the 7A-West in next week’s state tournament at Bentonville. The Pointers will play on May 11 at either noon, if they are the fourth seed, or at 2:30 p.m. if they are the third seed.
Springdale Har-Ber still has one conference game left to play and a win over Rogers Heritage on Thursday would bump Van Buren to the fourth seed. If Heritage wins, Van Buren will be the third seed.
Bentonville has clinched the second seed while Fayetteville clinched the top seed and the conference championship with Monday’s 10-0 win at Fayetteville (16-13, 11-3) over Van Buren.
“We needed to bounce back,” Van Buren head coach David Loyd said. “We had a day yesterday that was unfortunate. We didn’t play well, and they did. It was good to bounce back and get a good effort from everybody; the pitchers and we hit the ball well. It was a good win for us.”
Tuesday, Van Buren and Fayetteville was tied at 5-5 after just three innings, and a slugfest was brewing before Trevor Johnson came out of Van Buren’s bullpen and fired four shutout innings.
“We’ve got three guys that we really have a lot of confidence in,” Loyd said. “Any one of them on any day could be our No. 1 guy. He came in and did a super job for us. That’s what he’s been doing that all year.”
Johnson gave up two hits in his first inning of work in the top of the fourth, but worked out of it.
“He does like to come in and shut it down, if we’re in a bind or we’re ahead,” Loyd said. “He can come in and close it out. He competes real hard, and that’s what you want from a guy in that situation. He does seem to look forward to those kind of situations.”
Johnson allowed just two runners his final three frames, both on walks. Van Buren’s defense took care of the last one, which was a walk to leadoff the seventh.
Shortstop Chase Moore backhanded a sharp ground ball, threw to second baseman Evan Jones, who fired a strike to first baseman Jeremiah Douglas to complete the double play. Johnson retired the final batter on a grounder.
Offensively, Van Buren got hits from eight of the nine spots in the batting order, and the other spot drove in a run with a sacrifice fly so everybody up and down the lineup contributed.
“We haven’t been hitting quite as well the last week and half, but it was good to see us get back and get going,” Loyd said. “Hopefully, this gives us some momentum going into the state tournament.”
Moore cracked the 5-5 tie with a good old-fashioned Little League style home run. Moore doubled with one out, and just kept running when Fayetteville’s shortstop took the cutoff throw, turned and quickly threw to second base, where no one was at. The throw ended up at the fence up the first-base line, and Moore rounded the bases.
Van Buren added an insurance run in the fifth. Ethan Rauser singled to lead off the inning, went to second on Bryson Patrick’s single and scored on a two-out single by Douglas.
Connor Catron drove in Van Buren’s first run with a sacrifice fly, and Rauser knocked in courtesy runner Carter Davis, who was running for Ethan Holmes after a single, for a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
Douglas tripled to deep, deep right to drive in Patrick in the second inning.
Freshman Dakota Peters singled with two outs in the third inning to drive in Rauser and Johnson as Van Buren tied the game at 5-all in the bottom of the third inning.
Fayetteville scored a run in the second inning and four in the third inning. The Bulldogs had six straight hits in the third and lost a runner at the plate in the inning.
FAYETTEVILLE 10, VAN BUREN 0
Miller Pleimann struck out five and pitched a one-hitter Tuesday to pace 7A-West champion Fayetteville to a 10-0 win over Van Buren in the first game of their conference series.
Dalton Reeves suffered the loss, and he didn’t get much help as the Pointers committed seven errors.
Connor Catron had the team’s lone hit.