Fighting to keep its postseason hopes alive, Van Buren put together its best effort of the season in a 13-3 win against Heritage in the first game of a 7A/6A-West doubleheader Wednesday.
In the nightcap, the War Eagles rallied for a run in the seventh to slip past the Pointers, 4-3.
In the opener, the Pointers (10-15, 3-7) banged out 11 hits and took advantage of five War Eagle errors to get the run-rule victory. Also, starter Bradley Eversole allowed just one hit through the first five innings en route to the complete-game win.
"(Eversole) was able to relax and throw strikes and we did a nice job defensively behind him," Pointer coach David Loyd said. "He is coming on and getting better every time he pitches. The defense knows he is going to throw strikes so they are on their toes ready to go."
The only lead the War Eagles (15-10, 5-5) had in the opener was in the second inning on Dalton McKaughn’s sacrifice fly that scored Colton Wetzler, who earlier doubled.
The Pointers offense, though, got going in the bottom of the third with a four-run outburst.
Colton Tucker doubled and scored on Caleb Bauman’s grounder when the shortstop made a wild throw to first. Hunter Ryan gave the Pointers a 3-1 lead on a double. Spencer Rapin then doubled home Ryan for the final run of the inning.
"I was pleased to see so many big hits bunched together and get some big innings," Loyd said . We’ve struggled to get guys home with less than two outs, but we had a lot of two-out hits also.
A bases-loaded walk to Levi Froud and a sacrifice fly by Ryan increased the Pointers’ lead to 6-1 after four innings.
A solo home run by Kasey Murphy and an RBI double by Wetzler got Heritage to within 6-3 in the top of the sixth, but the War Eagles left runners at second and third.
Van Buren, thanks to three hits and three Heritage errors, scored seven runs to end the game via the 10-run rule in the sixth inning. Ray, who had three hits in the game, and Ryan each had two-run hits to fuel the inning.
"Quinton really sparked the bottom of the lineup today," Loyd added. "They got on base and scored several runs. They really gave us a spark. Getting those runs enables you to relax and make plays."
In the nightcap, Heritage tied the game in the fourth, and then finally retook the lead on a bases-loaded wild pitch with two outs that scored Troy Cahill with the winning run.
Murphy tossed a complete-game three-hitter for the War Eagles, which keeps a two-game lead over the Pointers in the conference standings and both battle for a playoff berth.
Van Buren trailed 2-0 early, but had taken a 3-2 lead in the third. Spencer Rapin’s two-out single score Taylor Anders and Caleb Bauman to tie the game. After Bauman scored a throwing error by the catcher allowed Levi Froud to score giving the Pointers its only lead of the game.
Van Buren 13, Heritage 3
Heritage 010 002 X — 3 4 5
Van Buren 004 207 X — 13 11 0
Lovelace, Wetzler (3) and Ward; Eversole and Hogan. W— Eversole. L—Lovelace. HR - Heritage, Murphy.
Heritage 4, Van Buren 3
Heritage 020 100 1 — 4 9 2
Van Buren 003 000 0 — 3 3 3
Murphy and Ward; Bauman, Anders (2) and Hogan. W—Murphy. L—Bauman.