Wet weather dogged the Arab baseball team during its annual spring break tour of top-notch Tennessee teams last week, and things didn’t change much when they got back into town.
The varsity team played its 6A, Area 15 opener at Scottsboro as scheduled on Tuesday but not without some adjustments to deal with wet grounds. The game’s start was pushed back and the JV team’s game canceled altogether, but the important area game did get played.
That looked good for Arab at one point in the seventh inning when it scored two runs to break a 1-1 tie. But Scottsboro rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh to pull out a 4-3 win.
Dakota NeSmith was 2-for-3 with a home run and Landon added an RBI single to lead the Knights.
Scottsboro comes to Arab for an area rematch this week but again the weather is likely to be an issue. To that end, Arab announced Tuesday that today’s games with the Wildcats have been pushed back to Friday, with the first game slated to start at 4:30 p.m.
The JV games scheduled for Friday have been canceled.
• SPRING BREAK
The Arabian Knights got in a little family time with a trip to Tennessee to close out spring break last week, but when work was scheduled to begin, “Mother Nature” had another idea.
“Yeah, that was frustrating,” said Hudson. “We were looking forward to playing Jefferson City at Carson-Newman Thursday afternoon. What made it bad was that it was beautiful most of the day but it rained all night the night before and on Thursday morning.
“The field was unplayable.”
While the weather cooperated Friday, the Knights went up against some elite talent.
“We knew we had a big challenge ahead of us,” Hudson said. “Those are two big schools in Tennessee, Cookeville being one of the largest.”
• Cookeville 11, Arab 3
Perhaps the down time played a role in the loss, but Hudson made no excuses.
“We didn’t play well at all,” he said. “We went through multiple pitchers. We had a hard time throwing it across the plate and we had a hard time catching it when we did. We didn’t hit it well either and that’s not a good combination,” he said.
Plus, the Cavaliers were good.
“We were up against some good competition, but we were not competitive at all,” said Hudson.
• Rhea Co. 9, Arab 8
The loss to Cookeville may have given the Knights a bad feeling, but the loss to Rhea County in an extra inning game may have been even worse.
“It was one of the toughest losses of the season,” Hudson said. “We wasted a good starting pitching performance from Brody McCain. He went four innings and allowed one unearned run on three hits with four strikeouts.
The Golden Eagles had talent, too, with one player committed to Virginia Tech. But the Knights came back with a fresh start ready to play, jumping out to a 6-2 lead in the sixth inning. But then, momentum changed quickly.
“We had two of our best relievers on the mound, Tyler Benson and Hayden Turner. We walked some guys at the bottom of the order, made a critical error or two, then they got some hits and went up 8-6,” Hudson said.
Luckily, the Knights didn’t give up and a huge two-run hit by Sam Jackson with two outs tied the game in the top of the seventh. But, another critical error came in the bottom of the eighth to give the Eagles the win.
“We made a throwing error and it was over,” said Hudson.
Offensively, Jackson led the way. He was 3-for-4 with three RBIs, two runs scored and the big seventh-inning hit. Turner was 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and Weslee Staton was 2-for-5 with one RBI.
• Arab 18, West Green 3
Thankfully, the Knights were able to close out their road trip on a high note.
“To be honest, they were nothing like the teams we played Friday but we handled business like we should,” Hudson said.
Arab wasted no time in putting runs on the board, and that continued throughout the game.
“We scored a lot of runs early and we got a chance to play everybody. Bradley Ridgeway and Carter Gilbert gave us good relief performances, so, it was a good day,” Hudson said.
Ridgeway threw two scoreless innings in relief and Gilbert also had a scoreless inning.
McCain led the offense, going 2-for-2 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Landon Law was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Dakota NeSmith had a two-run and Turner scored three runs.