Avenging an earlier loss, the North Little Rock Charging Wildcats defeated Little Rock Catholic, 3-0, Tuesday to remain in second place in the 7A-Central.
The Wildcats (18-6) lost to Catholic, 1-0, on March 31. That loss coupled with a setback to Cabot, the league leader, are North Little Rock’s only two conference defeats. The Wildcats finish the conference season with games against Fort Smith Northside and at Bryant and Cabot.
“It was a close one and not a typical game offensively for us,” North Little Rock Coach Brock Moore said. “It wasn’t our best offensive night, but we found a way to win. It was a big conference win for us, and they are our cross-town rivals. They give us fits the past couple years, and we finally pulled one out.”
Owen Stuckey notched the victory and gave up five hits, struck out seven batters and walked two. Catholic pitchers combined to give up two hits, but walked seven batters. The Wildcats left 11 baserunners stranded.
“We had lots of people on base,” Moore said. “They kept us on our toes and at bay. We are pitching well and playing better defense.”
In the first inning, Zac Freeman scored after Ryan Maloch walked. The Wildcats tallied two more runs in the third after Drew Menard scored on a wild pitch and Chase Freeman scored on an error. Menard and Nick Butler were the only players with hits with Menard smacking a double.
Last Friday, North Little Rock traveled to Fort Smith Southside and won 7-1. The Wildcats scored three runs in the first two innings for a 3-1 edge. Stuckey hit an RBI-double in the first while Maloch slapped an RBI-single in the second. Pounding out 13 hits, the Wildcats were led by Desmond Cordova’s three. Chase Freeman, Maloch and Chance Harger contributed two apiece.
“We are a confident baseball team,” Moore said. “It feels good.”
On Thursday against Northside, North Little Rock will acknowledge seniors Reed Shepherd, Zac Freeman, Chase Freeman, Cordova, Harger, Butler, Stuckey, Maloch, Menard, Derek Howell and Caleb White. That group has been playing together since sophomore when they were the bulk of the team.
“The senior class is a bunch of competitors,” Moore said. “Coupled with talent, they have been a huge plus for us.”