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SBLive Arkansas Super 7 baseball rankings: Pitching, defense taking center stage

Three pitchers notched 16 or more strikeouts in a game last week.

By Kevin Bohannon I Photo submitted

This season is quickly becoming the “Year of the Pitcher” as we have seen superb mound performances every week. 

This past week was no different as three pitchers had 16 strikeouts or more in a game: Russ Martin (17), Hunter Alexander (17) and Jaxson Ingle (16). Martin took it a step further during his outing by throwing a perfect game. 

Pitching and defense wins championships, and the rankings reflect that saying more than ever this week.

SBLive Class 6A Super 7  

1. Springdale Har-Ber 15-4

2. Rogers 14-2

3. Bentonville 13-5

4. Bentonville West 11-7

5. Conway 10-6

6. Cabot 10-5

7. LR Catholic 12-5

Analysis: Conway and Cabot are atop the Central after late week victories. Conway thumped previously streaking LR Catholic. Austin Rainey and Hugh Hill were Book ends on the mound in the win. NLR is a game back after dropping an 8-2 decision to Bryant, who is coming on as expected. Rogers is 6-0 in league play and playing like it did during its Class 6A state title run a season ago. Har-Ber has one of the top pitching staffs in the state and that is evident every week as they only allow 1 to 2 runs in conference doubleheaders. The Bentonville schools sit at No. 3 and No. 4 right now with big games coming up where they can make a move. Southside followed up a sweep of Bentonville by getting swept by a young talented Fayetteville squad thus showing that the West truly is the Wild, Wild West.

SBLive Class 5A Super 7  

1. Van Buren 14-4

2. Benton 14-2

3. Jonesboro 14-5-1

4. Greene County Tech 14-2

5. Greenbrier 9-6

6. Sheridan 11-5

7. Batesville 11-4

Analysis: Benton dropped two games in non-conference play this week, Pulaski Academy in 11 innings and NLR. LR Christian is 5-1 in league play and 13-4 overall and knocking on the door. Jonesboro had a big week sweeping Batesville. Josh Hyneman hit his state-leading 8th homerun of the year over the weekend. White Hall ended El Dorado 11 game win streak. White Hall, Lake Hamilton, Sheridan and EL Dorado all within a game of each other in the 5A South. Van Buren swept Mountain Home this week and sits atop the West tied with Greenbrier. Those two split in week one of conference play.

SBLive Class 4A Super 7  

1. Valley View 17-3

2. Lonoke 17-3

3. Huntsville 16-3

4. Brookland 12-5

5. Morrilton 12-1

6. Arkadelphia 7-4

7. Magnolia 11-4

Analysis: Huntsville is 16-3 overall and 4-0 in conference play and playing better than most teams in the state. Harrison is also 4-0 in the 1-4A. Valley View took down Robinson 11-1 on Saturday and is 17-3. The Blazers have a big doubleheader with Brookland on the horizon. Morrilton finally dropped a game, albeit non-conference game to McCrory. Pulaski Academy and Lonoke split their doubleheader. Kel Busby and Patrick Engskov (Oklahoma signee) shutdown Lonoke In Game 1 while Steele Eaves had a complete game shutout for the Jackrabbits in Game 2. . Lonoke also defeated Brookland and Marion 6-1 and 3-1 over the weekend. Arkadelphia had a big come from behind win to stay perfect in 7-4A play. Down 9-5, they stormed back to win 12-9. Magnolia and Camden Fairview have started playing up to their preseason potential tied atop 8-4A at 6-2. Martavius Thomas’ (University of Arkansas) 2ndhome run of the year was a walk off this past week for the Cardinals

SBLive Class 3A Super 7  

1. Harding Academy 16-3

2. Camden Harmony Grove 17-1-1

3. Ashdown 14-3

4. Walnut Ridge 12-2

5. Rose Bud 12-4

6. Paris 11-2

7. Rivercrest 11-3

Analysis: Lincoln is playing at a high level in baseball and softball. Jackson Endacott had a three-home run performance this week in doubleheader sweep of West Fork. A showdown with Bergman will help determine the 1-3A champion. Harding Academy and Rose Bud will battle for conference supremacy next week. Harding is a little shorthanded with Kade Smith having surgery on his hamate bone and Gavin Alveti coming back this week from orbital bone fracture. Russ Martin had a 17-strikeout perfect game for the Ramblers against Clinton. Paris continues their perfect conference run. Baptist Prep is playing well of late. Head coach Cody Perrin has the Eagles playing fundamental baseball in just first year at the helm. CAC is 7-0 in conference play and has a freshman phenom to pay attention to: Grayson Wilson has a 10:1 K-BB ratio and 5-0 record with a 2.32 ERA. Ashdown and Genoa Central will break their Conf tie on Monday. CHG as mentioned earlier beat Woodlawn 16-15 to move to 17-1-1. Bradley Launius 2HR in that game.

SBLive Class 2A Super 7  

1. Woodlawn 15-5

2. McCrory 15-4-1

3. Carlisle 14-5

4. Murfreesboro 13-4

5. Buffalo Island Central 8-2

6. Horatio 14-5-1

7. Melbourne 11-4

Analysis: The story of the week will be No. 2 vs No. 3 when McCrory and Carlisle do battle for the 2A-6 Conference crown on Thursday. In a battle of top inter-class teams, Woodlawn dropped a classic to Camden Harmony Grove 16-15 on Saturday. Melbourne continues to charge sitting at 11-4 overall and 7-0 in conference. Buffalo Island Central at 7-0 has a two-game lead in conference play. Mansfield is jumping on our rankings radar with a perfect conference mark. The 2A-5 is becoming a three-team battle with St Joseph, Bigelow and Southside Bee Branch. Each team is undefeated and playing good ball right now. Bigelow’s Hunter Alexander threw a CG 1H 17K gem on Thursday and has six home runs on the year. Alexander is also a UA-Rich Mountain commit. Bee Branch shortstop Easton Swofford (Arkansas signee) has been on a tear the past 6 games going 18-for-22 with 6 doubles, 2 triples and 3 homeruns and 13 RBI and 7 stolen bases.

SBLive Class 1A Super 7  

1. Izard County 13-3

2. West Side Greers Ferry 10-4

3. Norfork 13-3

4. Taylor 8-4-2 

5. Ouachita 11-6

6. Mount Ida 9-3

7. Marked Tree 7-5

Analysis: Norfork continues to be the story of the year. They upset No. 1 Izard County in convincing fashion for its 10th straight win. They’re now 13-3 on the season and have taken on the role of “the party crashers” according to first year Coach Ethan Davis. The Panthers still have work to do and while they are the hottest team in 1A, they are still third in conference play behind Izard County and Westside. Marked Tree continues their run thru Conf play at 6-0. Ouachita continues to play well having beat Blevins 25-2 last Thursday.