CLINTON — The streak continues for the Harding Academy baseball team.
The Wildcats scored a run in the bottom of the seventh to beat Gosnell 1-0 in the first round of the Class 3A Region 2 tournament at Clinton High School. Harding Academy is now 17-5, having won 13 consecutive games and now qualified for the Class 3A state tournament next week at Ashdown.
Harding Academy’s Levi Lang led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a double. Three batters later, Lang scored on a sacrifice fly by Cooper Welch.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Harding Academy coach Alex Smith said. “That was a high quality win against a high quality team. The meat of order got the job done in the bottom of the seventh to scratch a run across to win it for us.”
Smith said he expects games the rest of the season to be this tough.
“I expect all our games to be that contested from here on out,” he said. “At this time of the year, every team left is a good team. I am excited to see what our guys can do against the challenges ahead.”
Harding Academy played in the semifinals Friday at noon. The third-place game is Saturday at noon. The championship game is Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Harding Academy had a chance to score in the first inning. The Wildcats left the bases loaded after walks to Lang, Kade Smith and Welch.
Harding Academy had a runner at third base in the second. Daniel Henley was hit by a pitch, went to second on a passed ball and third on a groundout by Eli Wallis. He was stranded at third base.
In the third inning, Gavin Alveti walked and second to second on a walk but was stranded there to end the inning.
Harding Academy’s Jadyn Wilhite walked in the fourth inning. He eventually reached third base and was stranded there.
Smith singled and reached second in the fifth. Wallis singled in the sixth and stole second base. Neither runner was able to advance.
Smith got the win for the Wildcats. He gave up three hits in seven innings of work. He struck out seven.
The Wildcats then beat Rose Bud 11-1 on Friday to advance to Saturday’s championship game. First pitch is set for 2:30 p.m.