Leopards strong rally in seventh inning falls short to Arkadelphia, 5-3

Malvern Leopard pitcher Braxton Allen throws some fire across the plate from the mound against Arkadelphia.The Leopards showcase intense playing action on the diamond against Arkadelphia during Sr. Babe Ruth League baseball competition.Malvern Leopards vs. Arkadelphia Sr. Babe Ruth League baseball competitionMalvern Leopards vs. Arkadelphia Sr. Babe Ruth League baseball competitionPOSTGAME PEP TALK: Malvern baseball head coach Jordan Knight expresses encouragement to the Leopards following a hard fought battle against Arkadelphia Friday during Sr. Babe Ruth League baseball competition.Malvern Leopards vs. Arkadelphia Sr. Babe Ruth League baseball competitionMalvern Leopards vs. Arkadelphia Sr. Babe Ruth League baseball competitionMalvern Leopards vs. Arkadelphia Sr. Babe Ruth League baseball competitionMalvern Leopards vs. Arkadelphia Sr. Babe Ruth League baseball competitionMalvern Leopards vs. Arkadelphia Sr. Babe Ruth League baseball competitionMalvern Leopards vs. Arkadelphia Sr. Babe Ruth League baseball competitionMalvern Leopards vs. Arkadelphia Sr. Babe Ruth League baseball competitionMalvern Leopards vs. Arkadelphia Sr. Babe Ruth League baseball competitionMalvern Leopards vs. Arkadelphia Sr. Babe Ruth League baseball competitionMalvern Leopards vs. Arkadelphia Sr. Babe Ruth League baseball competitionMalvern Leopards vs. Arkadelphia Sr. Babe Ruth League baseball competitionMalvern Leopards vs. Arkadelphia Sr. Babe Ruth League baseball competitionMalvern Leopards vs. Arkadelphia Sr. Babe Ruth League baseball competition
By: 
Gerren Smith
Staff Writer

ARKADELPHIA — The hometown Malvern Leopards took their talents on the diamond to familiar territory in Clark County Friday to face the Arkadelphia Badgers for their first road game for Sr. Babe Ruth League baseball competition at the Youth Sports Complex.
The Leopards fell behind early, but built momentum in the top of the seventh and rallied from a 5-0 deficit. The Leopards were able connect at the plate offensively and drove in three key runs, but the Badgers’ defense held on and Malvern fell short to their rivals’ Arkadelphia, 5-3.
Despite the loss, the Leopards showcased productive play offensively and defensively against the Badgers in their first meeting for Sr. Babe Ruth League summer baseball action.
Malvern baseball head coach Jordan Knight was pleased by the defensive effort the Leopards provided against a talented and productive Arkadelphia Badgers team. The Badgers were held to only five runs the entire seven inning contest due to solid defense the Leopards produced.
Knight felt the Leopards made plays when it was most needed defensively, but had tough situations offensively that could have sparked Malvern against Arkadelphia.
“Our pitching performed at a high level. Cole Carey and Braxton Allen continue to get better and have a commanding presence on the mound. Offensively we struggled in situational opportunities early in the game,” Knight said.
The Badgers held the momentum offensively through the sixth inning. Malvern put together some sparks at the plate for hits to allow them to make it on base, but Arkadelphia’s defense was key from their pitching on the mound.
“Credit to Arkadelphia. We faced their two best arms who are going to pitch at the next level. We must continue to grow in our ability to take advantage of opportunities when we have them. In the last inning we put together quality at bats and were the aggressor,” Knight said.
The Leopards kept fighting and didn’t give up despite being scoreless for most of the contest. Even though the Leopards made a late push to climb back into the game in the seventh inning, Knight knows that the toughness his team must maintain in order to develop a championship caliber ball team against top quality baseball programs.
“That’s the mindset I want us to have. To pursue the other team and be the aggressor. We will get there. We are eager to be the best program in the state. My one and only goal is to achieve a championship culture and mindset in everything that we do,” Knight said.
Knight believes the focus and level of intensity before taking the field to perform can help build a team achieve success on the diamond.
“From the way we walk into the ballpark, get warmed up, communicate with our teammates and coaches, and the competitive fire we have. Champions have a way about them, a seriousness about them. I want my team to know we have the capability to be a state champion, and this summer is an opportunity to learn the detail that champions possess,” Knight said.
The Leopards hope to finish strong during summer league season to improve and build their abilities on the diamond as a top quality unit against opponents.
If weather permits and field conditions are playable, today, the Leopards are scheduled to return to Sr. Babe Ruth League baseball action on the road to face the Ouachita Warriors at 5 p.m. at Warrior Field.

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