Daley Shuts Down Bentonville

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. -- Neosho (Mo.) starting pitcher Jessie Daley doesn't have an intimidating presence, just an intimidating pitch.

Daley went the distance for the Neosho Wildcats, retiring 20 out of 28 batters on Saturday, including 16 in a row through six innings, to beat Bentonville 5-4 in the third-place game of the Bruin Classic at Bill Doenges Memorial Stadium.

"(Daley) has great stuff," Neosho coach Eddie Crupper said. "It changes when he pitches from the stretch and fortunately, we were able to make some plays on ground balls. He has a relationship with the infield, because they know that he's going to pitch ground balls. If they make the plays, he's going to continue to pitch ground balls."

Bentonville (10-7) scored a run in the first inning when shortstop Teddy Barnes scored on Justin Cowgur's RBI-single to left field.

But the Wildcats quickly responded in the second and third innings, scoring four runs on three hits. Picking up RBIs in both innings were right fielder Eric Smith, center fielder Phillip Main and left fielder Paul Mitchell.

"(Daley) just threw it in there and threw strikes," Bentonville coach Todd Abbott said. "We're hitting the ball, putting the ball in play, but their guys were making diving catches and other great plays. Give some credit to them, they make some great defensive plays. It was kind of frustrating, because it seemed like the whole weekend was like that for us. We saw some good pitching, competition and we're constantly putting the ball in play and they were just right at them. But gosh dang, what are we going to do?"

Bentonville starting pitcher Caleb Smith took the loss in three innings of work, giving up four runs on four hits. Three other pitchers (Chris Eiler, Nick Eiler and Zach Hedges) all came in relief in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings, respectively. They combined to give up one run on five hits.

Bentonville cut Neosho's lead to only one run in the bottom of the seventh inning when the Wildcats allowed three of the first four batters on base on a hit batsman, an error and a single.

But Daley, who struck out three batters, got the last two outs of the inning on a strikeout and a pop-up to end the game.

"We started off in the first inning getting that run," Abbott said. "We did give ourselves a chance in that last inning, but we need to do that before the last inning. We don't need to wait until the end.

"But we saw some good competition," Abbott added, "and I'm proud of the way we played. This will get us ready for our conference."

Bentonville returns to action Tuesday, when the Tigers travel to Fort Smith Northside in a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m.

Bentonville 6, Sapulpa 4

Earlier in the day, Bentonville scored three runs in the fourth inning to rally past Sapulpa, Okla., 6-4.

Bentonville starting pitcher Seth Tucker picked up the win, giving up four runs on five hits in seven innings.

Down 4-2 in the fourth, Bentonville's Teddy Barnes reached base on a single and later scored when Michael Hubbard hit a two-run home run over the right field wall.

Bentonville's Caleb Dover also scored in the fifth inning on a Sapulpa fielding error to add to the Tigers' lead.

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