The 2017 season began like the 2016 season ended, with the Bearcats unable to push across a run.
Last May that was in the Class 3A state title game. Monday it was against Class 6A Greenwood and UA signee Connor Noland, who allowed one hit and struck out 12.
The Bearcats let a game get away at Prairie Grove on Tuesday but throttled Lavaca Friday night to get into the win column.
Greenwood 7 Bearcats 0
Brady Brasher was splendid for five innings. He allowed single runs in the first and fourth innings but one could have been avoided.
In the first Colton Sagley led off with a singe and stole second and scored on a two out single by Dylan Montgomery. the inning was prolonged by a two out error that allowed Cody Smith to reach but Brasher (0-1) struck out Ryan Daggs to end the at bat.
The Bearcat first would be their best opportunity to score against Noland (1-0). Fennell reached — on an error on one book and via a hit by the other — and after Brandon Ulmer was called out on strikes, Brasher singled to right.
The runners were left at first and second when Connor Noland got Trent Wooldridge and Michael Hesson swinging. Noland, who is set to play both football and baseball for Arkansas, was on his way to 12 strikes outs against a lone walk.
Brasher allowed a hit in the second, and pitched aound a two out double by Montgomery and an error in the third before the Bulldogs were able to do more damage. In the fourth Smith reached on an infield single, courtesy runner Ronnie Berg moved to second on an error on a pickoff throw by Brasher and scored on a single by Michael Panis.
Panis was at second when Sagley drove a ball back at Brasher that the senior turned into a double play.
Brasher issued a walk in the fifth but got a line drive that Devin Davis turned into a double play and Davis made a play on a grounder by Montgomery to end the inning. Noland also walked Chandler Fritsche in the bottom of the inning.
Hesson relieved Brasher in the sixth and was touched up for a double by Cody Smith and a home run by Daggs before getting a strike out but even then Isaac Schwartz reached base. Jake Smith singled and Sageley reached on an error before a two out double by Noland made it 7-0.
Noland pitched until there were two down in the sixth lifted after a ground ball with Ulmer at third. Ulmer and reached after striking out.
Blakely Cobb threw the seventh for the Bearcats getting around the sixth error of the night.
Prairie Grove 9 Bearcats 8
Making their first of several road trips Tuesday, the Bearcats built a 5-1 lead that disappeared into a 7-5 deficit, rebuilt an 8-7 lead only to see Prairie Grove score two runs in the bottom of the seventh for a 9-8 win.
The Bearcats jumped on the Tigers for two in the first with Trent Wooldridge driving in one run with a ground ball and a Michael Hesson single.
Prairie Grove scratched out a run in the first when Reed Orr scored on a Clay Fider ground ball. Orr had singled, moved up on a bunt and moved to third on a passed ball.
Carson Ray reached to open the second inning and eventually scored on a ball that got away from the Tiger catcher. After two were down Hayden Fennell walked, Brandon Ulmer doubled home a run and Brady Brasher singled home another to make It 5-1.
It stayed that way until a disaster in the Tiger third Ulmer hit a man but had two down when an error prolonged the inning and there were three hits, another error and a walk before he finally induced a ground ball from Cooper Allen for his second out of the inning but the Tigers were up 7-5.
The Beracats answered in immediate fashion as Chandler Fritsche led off the fourth with a single and Wyatt Rongey walked. After Fennell tapped into a force play Ulmer walked and a two run double by Brasher gave him a three RBI day and tied it. A Wooldridge ground ball gave the Bearcats an 8-7 lead.
It stayed that way until the bottom of the seventh when an error allowed the tying run aboard and Austin Jentzen got in the way of a pitch to put the winning run on base.
Then it got weird. Woodridge (0-1) who was in his second inning of relief of Ulmer, induced a pop up bunt that he caught and, with runners on the move, had a chance to turn into a double play or triple play to end it. Instead his throw went into center field and a subsequent error on the play allowed two to touch home.
Bearcats 9 Lavaca 1
It was 1-0 in favor of the Bearcats on a ground ball RBI by Haden Fennell that scored Gabe Fennell when Brandon Ulmer cleared the bases with a blast off the fence. Ulmer proceeded to score himself as Lavaca kicked the ball around and it was 4-0.
A two run single by Wyatt Rongey scored Gabe Fennell and Chandler Fritsche, who both reached on Golden Arrow errors and it was 6-0 in the middle of the third.
Lavaca got its lone run in the bottom of the inning on a single by Tripp Lile.
Ulmer got that run back leading off the fourth with a home run that chased Lavaca starter Draven Gill. Trent Wooldridge would work a one out walk and he scored during a walk to Carson Ray.
The Bearcats (1-2) added a run on a play that ended the game as Gabe Fennell singled but Wooldridge was out trying to advance to third while courtesy runner Ian Suttles scored.
Hayden Fennell pitched the first three innings, Michael Hesson (1-0) the next three and Brady Brasher finished it for the Bearcats.