Bobcats clip Warriors, 2-1

Bobcats clip Warriors, 2-1

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Bobcats clip Warriors, 2-1

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Cotter’s Landon Martin dives back into first base as Flippin first baseman Tanner Theobald takes the pick-off throw during the Bobcats’ 2-1 victory over the Warriors on Friday at Warrior Field.

Cotter’s Landon Martin dives back into first base as Flippin first baseman Tanner Theobald takes the pick-off throw during the Bobcats’ 2-1 victory over the Warriors on Friday at Warrior Field.

Flippin shortstop Landry Kopacz, right, attempts to turn a double play, while Cotter’s Aron Rowe goes into second base during the Bobcats’ 2-1 victory over the Warriors on Friday at Warrior Field.

Flippin shortstop Landry Kopacz, right, attempts to turn a double play, while Cotter’s Aron Rowe goes into second base during the Bobcats’ 2-1 victory over the Warriors on Friday at Warrior Field.

The showdown for first place in the 3A-1 East lived up to its billing.

Flippin’s Dean Smyser and Cotter’s Ryan Roberts were locked in an overly equal pitcher’s duel, each allowing just three hits, but the Bobcats scored twice on a hit by McKane Curtis in the fourth inning to take a 2-1 victory over the Warriors on Friday at Warrior Field.

Flippin scored the only two runs it would need as Curtis delivered a clutch, two-out, two-run single to right field in the top of fourth, and the Bobcats improved to 5-0 in league play.

The Bobcats (11-1 overall) travel to Bergman on Monday and still have Yellville-Summit and Mountain View left in 3A-1 East action. Cotter (10-3, 6-1) remains in second place in the league and has just Mountain View (Monday) left on its conference slate.

Smyser and Roberts had an almost identical pitching line, each going the distance. The big Bobcats right-hander struck out eight while allowing three hits and walking just one. Roberts also whiffed eight batters while allowing three hits and walking two.

Each team made one error in the game, with neither miscue leading to a run scored. Cotter also reached twice on catcher’s interference, but neither of those runs came across to score.

Flippin’s Brenton Butcher led off the fourth with a hit to center field and stole second. With one out, Landry Kopacz was hit by a pitch, and a groundout moved the pair to second and third. With two outs, Curtis delivered his base hit to right field, bringing home both runs for a 2-0 lead.

Roberts bounced back to retire seven of the next eight he faced, including a trio of strikeouts in the top of the sixth.

Cotter finally made its move in the bottom of the sixth. Aron Rowe reached on an error but was retired on a fielder’s choice by Shawn White. Colton Neal reached on the second catcher’s interference call of the game, and with one out Roberts smacked a single up the middle to score White.

Neal’s courtesy runner, Hunter Grinder, was thrown out at third for the second out, but Roberts moved into scoring position on the throw. Smyser escaped the jam with a popout to end the inning.

Roberts pitched his second straight 1-2-3 inning in the seventh, and in the Warriors’ final at-bat, Smyser pitched around a lead-off walk to Landon Martin with three straight strikeouts to end the contest.

Curtis was 1 for 3 with two RBI, while Butcher and Leland Campbell each went 1 for 3 for Flippin. Roberts was 1 for 3 with an RBI to lead Cotter, while White and Brett Walker each went 1 for 3 as well.

The Warriors can clinch second place with a win over Mountain View. Flippin losing one of its three remaining games would give Cotter a conference co-championship for the first time since 2007, while the Warriors would need Flippin to lose twice to earn their first outright title since 1999.

Flippin is in the driver’s seat and needs to win just two of its next three to clinch a share of the title and the number-one seed for the district tournament.

For local sports updates, follow Neal Denton on Twitter @BBSportsNeal and Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/BBSportsNeal

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Bobcats clip Warriors, 2-1

Flippin takes sole possession of first place in 3A-1 East

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