The Van Buren Pointers opened up a busy week with a quick win on Monday.
Hitters two through seven drove in runs as the Pointers made short work of Heritage in an 11-0 win shortened to five innings due to the run rule at Iverson Riggs Field at the Field of Dreams Complex.
Van Buren plays the final game of the home-and-away 6A-West series at Rogers Heritage on Tuesday and plays nonconference games at Northside on Thursday and at home against Alma on Friday.
“Fortunately, It looks like we’re going to have great weather all week so we’re going to play a lot,” Van Buren head coach David Loyd said. “We want to have a great week, but we want to keep improving and keep getting better. Hopefully, by playing more games, we’ll have the opportunity to do that.”
Monday, Trevor Johnson cruised on the mound, throwing 52 of his 72 pitches for strikes and earning the win with the complete game three-hit shutout.
He was aided by a double-play grounder in the first inning after a 10-foot base hit to lead off the game for Heritage, pitched around an error in the second inning and needed just 32 pitches through three innings.
Josh Llewellyn was the first batter Johnson went to three balls on in the count and doubled into the gap in left-center after an eight-pitch at-bat to open the fourth inning for Heritage. Johnson struck out the next batter before another infield single by Ryan Carlson. Johnson escaped further damage and retired the last three hitters of the game.
“I just threw strikes and let the defense work behind me,” Johnson said. “The top of the lineup came up, and I got behind a guy and he hit the double. I figured don’t get behind any more guys and throw strikes.”
Offensively, Van Buren scored double-digit runs for the third straight game and scored in three of the four innings.
Jackson Hurst started the uprising, sizzling a two-run double down the left-field line. Noah Lipe, who led the inning off with a walk, and Hayden Roark, who ran for Trevor Johnson, scored easily for a quick 2-0 lead.
“We’re starting to warm up a little bit,” Loyd said. “We had some big hits. Jackson had the big double and got us started. After that, it got contagious up and down the lineup.”
Landrey Wilkerson opened the third inning with a towering solo homer to dead center. Hurst walked, and pinch-runner Caleb Fergeson took second on a passed ball and scored on a sharp single to center by Grant Shankle for a 4-0 cushion.
Van Buren blew it open in the fourth inning, starting with free passes to Bryce Waters, Johnson, and Wilkerson to load the bases. Consecutive hits by Dakota Peters, Hurst, Seth Humphrey, and Shankle scored six runs. Johnson made it the seventh run in the inning with a bases-loaded walk, his second of the inning, to bump the lead to 11-0.
“We’re getting a little bit better as far as being patient at the plate and not chasing stuff out of the strike zone,” Loyd said. “It’s starting to show, and we’re getting better pitches to hit. We’re starting to hit those pitches. Earlier, we weren’t. Now, we’re hitting those and it’s showing up on the scoreboard.”
Hurst drove in two of the runs in the fourth inning with a bases-loaded single. Humphrey followed with a line-drive double into the left-field corner that scored two more.
“It was just a fastball,” Humphrey said. “I sat on it and just swung. It felt good.”
Humphrey also likes the new batter order, now batting sixth after batting leadoff for a while and second in a couple of games earlier.
“It’s a good spot for me,” Humphrey said. “It’s nice that we can move around the lineup and be successful. That’s what we want is to be successful. I think we’re a lot more relaxed than we were at the first of the season. We’ve matured a lot, and it’s really helped us.”
Johnson, Wilkerson, Peters, Hurst, Humphrey, and Shankle all drove in runs and eight spots in the order scored runs. Hurst and Shankle each had two hits.
Van Buren 15, Shiloh Christian 3
Dakota Peters had a three-run home run as two other Pointers had four hits each in Friday’s win against Shiloh Christian in Northwest Arkansas.
Both Landry Wilkerson and Seth Humphrey went 4 for 5. Humphrey had two doubles while Wilkerson added four RBIs. Hayden Roark had three hits while Peters had two, including the three-run blast which capped a seven-run inning in the second.
Both teams were scoreless after the first inning until a trio of single-base hits put the Pointers up 4-0. Both Bryce Waters and Roark had RBI singles and Wilkerson added a two-run single.
Jackson Hurst scored on a passed ball in the fourth to make it 8-0. Shiloh scored on a passed ball.
Van Buren added seven more runs in the sixth including two-RBI singles from Wilkerson, Peters and Roark. Humphrey added an RBI double.
Wilkerson earned the win as he gave up two hits, two earned runs with nine strikeouts and a walk.
Shiloh pitched by committee as four players combined to give up 17 hits, 12 earned runs, six walks, and three Van Buren batters were hit by a pitch. Shiloh’s pitchers did combine for 10 strikeouts and stranded 11 Pointers on base.