Mother nature intervened during the 5A baseball state tournament's first round match up between the White Hall Bulldogs (22-9, 8-4) and the Pulaski Academy Bruins (21-16, 10-2).
Due to the weather delay, play was suspended Thursday night in the bottom of the third, and it would resume at 10 a.m. Friday morning.
After being tied 1-1 before the weather delay, White Hall outplayed Pulaski Academy on day two to secure a 5-2 win.
This win advanced White Hall to the second round for a match up with the Vilonia Eagles Saturday.
On Thursday, each team plated a run a piece. White Hall got going in the top of the first, with Chase Bryan leading off with a base hit, then advancing to second by way of an errant throw. JW Shelton followed with a successful bunt, then Devon Koonce was hit by a pitch from Bruins pitcher Will Osmet that loaded the bases.
Osmet followed with another HBP that scored Bryan from third.
Layne Hartsfield served as the starting pitcher for White Hall. Through two innings, Hartsfield gave up three hits, but the run scored against him was unearned. In the bottom of the second, Pulaski Academy's Thomas Wheelis belted one for a stand-up double. PA head coach Billy Adams then inserted the speedy Trevor Nosler as a pinch runner. Nosler not only stole third, he stole home to knot the score at 1-1.
In the top of the third, PA went three up and three down, and that's when a strike of lightning was spotted. White Hall head coach Shane Harp and his coaching staff made sure going into the game Friday morning that his guys were ready.
"We got up early this morning with winning on our minds," Harp said. "We had a nice senior breakfast, and we just came out on fire."
Play resumed at 10 a.m. Friday morning, and it was evident that the Bulldogs were energized. Due to ruling, both teams had to insert new pitchers, and that had a big part in the momentum swing for White Hall.
Zack Motsinger took the mound for the Bulldogs, putting forward a winning performance. After Motsinger quickly retired the side in the bottom of the third, the Bulldogs stepped to the plate and put the bat on the ball.
The new pitcher for PA was Layne Hatcher, and it took no time for White Hall to settle in on him in the top of the fourth. Leading the attack on offense was White Hall's Austin Terrell, who went 3/4 for the day. Terrell eyed one in from Hatcher, connected on it, and sent it over for a homer to regain the lead for the Bulldogs. A few plays later, Layne Hartsfield recorded an RBI single that drove Chase Bryan in from third.
"Austin Terrell was hot today, and he got three hits," Harp said. "He had a smooth swing and hit one out, and that really boosted us. We sacrificed, we moved runners when we're supposed to, and we hit the ball hard tonight."
Motsinger then made quick work of the Bruins, and the Bulldogs were right back at it at the plate. After Jordan Gober and Austin Terrell connected for base hits, Braden Croft recorded an RBI single to give the Bulldogs a three-hit, two-run fifth inning.
The Bruins didn't have any success against Motsinger until the bottom of the sixth. Pulaski Academy's Brooks Walton recorded an RBI single, scoring Thomas Wheelis, but that one run would be all they got out of their three hits in the sixth.
Heading into the bottom of the seventh, White Hall held a three-run lead, and Motsinger made sure it stayed that way. Motsinger finished the game accounting for a total of six strikeouts, and defense vaulted the Bulldogs into round two.
"Motsinger pitched lights out," Harp said. "He's pitched really well in big games for us and I'm looking forward to seeing him continue that. Our leadership, and our energy and the dugout was where it needed to be. And I have to say this, I've got some really good coaches."