The North Little Rock Charging Wildcats found a chink in their armor this week, but it wasn’t deep enough to put North Little Rock into the loss column.
A three-hour trip to Marion resulted in a sweep of the Patriots, 3-2, and 5-3 thanks to some dominant pitching.
Preston Oberling struck out 11 hitters in game one, and Dylan Howell fanned seven in game two.
What nearly cost the Charging Wildcats was base running.
"I think we just went to sleep on the bases," head coach Randy Sandefur said. "We got it corrected. We’ve had some good days of practice and I think we are ok."
Sandefur said the blunders likely cost his team three runs, possibly four.
Game two had a base running miscue as well, but nine hits in the 5-3 win behind Howell were more than enough.
"We pitched it well," Sandefur said. "We did what we had to do to win."
Pitching has been a huge advantage for North Little Rock and Sandefur starts credit with pitching coach Gene Whitley.
"He’s done such a great job with our pitchers," Sandefur said. "He’s a big reason we are where we are."
Sandefur also put some praise on his three-year starting catcher Alex Gosser.
"He’s like another coach on the field," Sandefur said. "He’s been with us four years, played as a freshman."
Six more games against Mountain Home, Little Rock Central and Jonesboro puts North Little Rock in the home stretch, and in the drivers’ seat.