Maumelle’s determination to make the state tournament was derailed because of one damaging inning.
Last Friday, the Hornets (17-12) lost 11-2 to Prairie Grove in the first round of regional competition in Lincoln. One victory was all Maumelle needed to qualify for state. A four-error third inning proved to be the Hornet’s downfall. Scoreless through two frames, the Tigers tallied seven runs of which six were unearned.
“The bottom fell out,” Maumelle Coach Barrett Davis said. “They outplayed us, outpitched us and outhit us and are the best 4A team we’ve seen all year. The young guys competed to get us back in, but it was too late.”
Early in the contest, Davis said the Hornets were hitting the ball O.K. but couldn’t string hits together. When he heard the Hornets were a three seed and would be facing two-seed Prairie Grove, Davis knew it was going to be a tough matchup. Even though the Tigers didn’t win their district partly by not throwing their ace, Davis said they are by far are the best team in that conference.
Maumelle loses seven seniors, and six of those seven have signed to play college baseball. The seniors are the last class to play at Oak Grove and as freshmen, they won just two games. They finished their last three years winning 56.
Davis saw much improvement in his pitching staff. While the seniors did well this year, Davis said the younger guys have more talent and could be better baseball players. The key is changing the atmosphere and developing a winning attitude. Returning next year is junior Kuron Summons, who Davis said, is on track to finish in the top 10 in the nation in stolen bases.
“I’m proud of the guys, and there were tears after the game,” Davis said. “The seniors told me they felt bad for not getting it done (going to state). The seniors were good baseball players, and the younger guys are good baseball players and athletes. We’ve got talent in Maumelle.”