A keen eye at the plate complimented the Arkansas City High School baseball team’s pitching prowess in an AV-CTL D-II doubleheader sweep Tuesday afternoon against Valley Center at City Ball Park.
The Bulldogs (6-4, 4-4 AV-CTL D-II) drew a combined 27 walks to defeat the Hornets 17-7 in the opener and 16-6 in the nightcap.
Both games ended in the sixth inning due to the run rule, but a combined 10 Ark City errors allowed the visiting Hornets (3-7, 1-5) to stick around longer than perhaps they should have.
Ark City committed seven miscues leading to five unearned runs in the opener.
Senior starting pitcher Ike Abrams (2-0) went five solid innings to earn the victory in Game 1. Abrams scattered seven hits and three walks, with two strikeouts, and just two of the seven runs he allowed were earned.
Sophomore Haden O’Toole closed both games of the twinbill, retiring all three batters he faced in the opener, two of them by strikeout. He then faced two batters in the nightcap, allowing a hit.
Valley Center took a 6-1 lead in the top of the second inning of the opener, but the Bulldogs battled back with a seven-run second and never trailed again.
Ark City tacked on four runs in the bottom of the fifth and five more in the sixth. O’Toole stroked an RBI triple with two out, and scored the walk-off run on a wild pitch to end the opener.
The hits were even at seven apiece in Game 1, but the Bulldogs drew 14 walks off of four Valley Center pitchers. The Hornets also threw six wild pitches and Balked in a run.
Halen David, who entered the twinbill with a team-high .462 batting average, had just one hit, but walked three times, scoring four runs and driving in four. Owen Bucher had just one hit, but drew a pair of walks, scored twice and drove in three. O’Toole added two hits, a walk, two runs and two RBI, and cleanup hitter Brice Nittler also drove in two.
Ark City’s top four batters combined for five hits, six walks, nine runs and 11 RBI.
Nittler staked the Bulldogs to a 2-0 lead in the opener by blasting a two-run home run with two out in the bottom of the first inning, the first homer by the Bulldogs this season.
Game 2 starter Austin Hensley (1-0) went four innings, giving up three runs on four hits, with two walks and a strikeout. Just one of the runs was earned.
Bucher allowed three unearned runs on five hits while striking out four in 1 2/3 innings before giving way to O’Toole.
Ark City outhit the Hornets 13-10. Both teams committed three errors, but Ark City drew 13 walks.
Nittler was a perfect 2 for 2 with two walks, four runs and five RBI. Bucher added two hits and two walks, scoring four runs, while Garrett VanDeventer went 3 for 4 with a walk, two runs and two RBI. Gavin Rains added a pair of hits and a walk, and Lucas Barnes scored twice on a hit and two walks.
Nittler stroked a two-run triple in the bottom of the sixth inning. Hensley ended the game with one out by drawing a bases-loaded walk.
Ark City 17, Valley Center 7 — Game 1
Ark City 16, Valley Center 6 — Game 2