Harding Academy ran its winning streak to 10 games with a 10-0 win over Bald Knob on Thursday at Wiggins Field. In the process, the Wildcats clinched the 3A-2 conference championship after starting the regular season 4-5.
Harding Academy is now 14-5 overall and finished league play at a perfect 8-0.
“I’m really happy for our guys,” first-year Harding Academy baseball coach Alex Smith said. “This year started off rough. We got knocked mourned a little bit by some really good clubs early in the season. I’m proud of the way our guys kept their heads up and kept playing their best every game.
“Winning conference helps set us up for what we hope is a good playoff run.”
Harding Academy hosts the 3A-2 district tournament, starting Monday. The Wildcats are the top seed and will play the winner of the Mountain View and Riverview at 11:30 a.m. The semifinals are Wednesday at 4 p.m. The championship game is Thursday at 4 p.m.
In the win over Bald Knob, Harding Academy struggled in the first inning, allowing three runners to reach base, including Peyton Kelly, Reece Moody and Hunter Delorian. Harding Academy pitcher Gavin Alveti got out of trouble, retiring the last two batters to end the threat.
Harding Academy came back with two runs in the bottom of the first. With one out, Levi Lang tripled and scored on a ground out by Alveti.
Kade Smith followed with a double off the left field wall. He scored when Cooper Welch reached on an error.
The Wildcats scored four times in the second inning. Daniel Henley singled and scored on a bases-loaded walk to Lang. Jadyn Wilhite was hit by a pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Alveti. Kyler Hooever walked. He and Lang scored on a single by Smith.
The Wildcats plated a single run in the third. Chris Anderson was hit by a pitch, stole second and third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Eli Wallis.
Harding Academy scored again in the fifth. Wallis singled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Hoover.
The game ended when Harding Academy scored two runs in the sixth. Alveti doubled and scored on a double by Smith, who then scored the 10th run on a passed ball.
Alveti got the win, throwing only 68 pitches through six innings. He allowed only three hits while striking out six.
Smith was 3 for 3 with two runs scored.