Raiders move to 2-2 after walk-off win

By TAYLOR HAWKINS,

Benton Academy’s Raiders had an exciting week on the baseball diamond with a close loss to Park Place Christian and a walk-off win over Carroll Academy.

The split week gave Benton a 2-2 record on the season thus far.

Against Park Place, there was no shortage of offensive firepower, and the festivities and fireworks kicked off in the top of the first inning when singles by Cody Prescott and J.B. Middleton gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead and a base runner. An RBI double by Tolar Purvis gave the Raiders another run. Cole Ables walked before Francis Dearman brought Purvis home with a single. Ables found home plate soon after with a run on a sac fly, making it a 4-0 game.

Park Place was up for the challenge Benton presented.

A double, a walk, and a single cut the Raiders’ lead to 4-2.

In the top of the third inning, Tolar Purvis led off with a single and was later brought home on a Wil Saxton RBI ground out, extending their lead to 5-2.

The Crusaders cruised through the bottom of the third inning, creating a path of destruction in their wake. By the end of the inning, they had taken an 8-5 lead.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Crusaders tacked on two more runs to push their lead to 10-5.

Benton’s bats woke up once again in the top of the fifth inning. Purvis, Ables, and Dearman had back-to-back-to-back singles to begin their run. A walk put one run on the board before singles from Prescott, Arion Warren, and Middleton added three more runs, cutting the lead to 10-9.

Park Place found themselves with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. It was one of the most important plays in the game. The result was a 2-run double, and it was followed by another score on a wild pitch, making it a 13-9 game heading into the top of the seventh inning.

With one last opportunity, the Raiders began to battle.

A single by Zac Nesbit was followed by a pair of outs, ensuring that each play following would be vital, necessary.

Warren came through with a single, which was immediately followed by a single by Middleton, cutting the lead to 13-11.

Unfortunately for the Raiders, they were unable to do any more damage, and Park Place took the game.

The Raiders scored 11 runs on a whopping 18 hits with five errors, while Park Place scored 13 runs on 10 hits with no errors.

Benton had the opportunity to even up their record on Friday night against Carroll Academy, and it was just as intense as the game prior, if not more so.

A pair of singles by Prescott and Warren and a walk by Middleton had the bases loaded for the Raiders with no outs in the bottom of the first inning, Purvis came up to bat and was walked, giving the Raiders a 1-0 lead. The Raiders scored two more on a fielder’s choice before Saxton hit an RBI single to give Benton a 4-0 lead.

In the bottom of the third inning, Ables was hit by a pitch before Dearman brought him home with an RBI single, and an RBI pop fly, bringing the score to 6-0.

Warren walked to kick off the bottom of the fourth inning, and a Middleton RBI single brought their lead up to 7-0.

Carroll came to life in the top of the sixth inning. A double and a passed ball led to them cutting the lead to 7-1.

In the top of the seventh inning, Carroll went on a run. Errors, walks, and hits compounded to allow the Rebels to score six runs, tying things up at 7-7 by the time the top of the inning came to a close.

It was yet another big opportunity for the Raiders, a moment to rise to the challenge.

And they did just that.

Senior Cole Ables led off with a single to center field before stealing second and taking third on a passed ball. After Will Saxton drew a walk, Ables put his athleticism to the test by attempting to take home on a passed ball.

Ables was successful.

And the Raiders won 8-7 on a walk-off.

Benton scored eight runs on eight hits with two errors, while Carroll scored seven runs on five hits with two errors.