Ledgend Smith made Binger-Oney coach Reggie Willits’ faith in his freshman pay off Thursday afternoon.
Smith went the distance for the Bobcats on the mound and came up with two key hits to help Binger-Oney to a 6-2 win over Ripley in the opening round of the Class A state baseball tournament at Palmer Field at Dolese Park.
Binger-Oney advances to play either Rattan or Navajo at 1:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.
Even though Willits had faith in Smith, he still did plenty of wondering how the freshman would react to the situation.
“You’re never really sure what you’re going to get,” Willits said.
Willits got his answer pretty quick, after Smith gave up a two-run home run in the third.
After walking the next batter, Smith settled back into a rhythm, and no Ripley runner made it past first base again until there was just one out left in the seventh.
“He’s not really scared of anything,” Willits said.
Smith helped himself in the first with a two-run, two-out double. In the third, Smith added an RBI single as Binger-Oney (25-10) scored all of its runs in the first three innings.
Sterling 2, Pioneer 1
Sterling pitcher Tucker White was perfect through five innings.
But the decision to lift him to save White’s arm for later in the tournament nearly turned disastrous for the Tigers.
Reliever Garrett Curry extended the perfect game to two outs in the seventh before Colby Koontz roped a no-doubt hit into the gap in right center, and Patrick Williams followed with an RBI double to to put the tying run on second.
But Curry was able to fight out of the jam, getting Carter Postier to fly out to shallow center to end the game and give Sterling the win.
Sterling took the lead in the first, taking advantage of an error to score on Dillon Wright’s groundout. They added another in the fifth on White’s RBI groundout.
Outside of that, Pioneer starter Skyler Bartel was fantastic, allowing just three hits in seven innings.
But he couldn’t match White, who struck out seven in five innings, staying perfect with little drama.
After Curry struck out the first two batters he faced, White kept the perfect game alive with a nice scoop from shortstop and throw to send the game into the seventh.
Sterling (25-5) advances to play Roff at 4 p.m. Friday at Palmer Field.
Roff 20, Preston 0
Roff jumped all over Preston from the start, scoring nine combined runs in the first two innings and 16 in the first three to cruise into the semifinals.
The Tigers didn’t need much help but Preston gave them plenty as well, committing nine errors.
Junior Hunter Larsh helped Roff (28-7) on both sides.
Offensively, Larsh was 4 for 4 with six RBIs. He had RBI singles in each of the first three innings before belting a three-run home run in the fifth and final inning.
Larsh also went the distance for Roff on the mound, battling out of a pair of james to keep Preston scoreless and keep Roff’s arms fresh. Larsh improved to 6-3.
Right fielder C.J. Johnson was 3 for 3 with two RBIs, while Cade Carpenter drove in three runs.
Rattan 7, Navajo 1
Jordan Jones struck out 14, keeping Navajo off-balance all night to send the Rams to the semifinals.
“That was his first game to throw in the state tournament so he wasn’t as sharp as he normally is,” Rattan coach Michael Clay said. “But he was plenty good enough today.”
Rattan (29-7) took advantage of five Najavo errors to give Jones plenty of cushion.
Jones’ only real trouble came in the third, and the Indians needed plenty of help to get their lone run across, taking advantage of two errors to score the unearned run.
Blake Watts was 3 for 4 for Rattan, scoring a pair of runs.