Diamond Leopards fall in conference opener to Nashville, 3-2

4) Parker Freer for Malvern gets ready to tag out a Nashville Scrapper heading toward second base  during their 7-4A Conference opener on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at Malvern National Bank Field at Morrison Park. Photo by Gerren Smith(1) Jacobe Hart for Malvern goes to make the out at third base against Nashville during their 7-4A Conference opener on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at Malvern National Bank Field at Morrison Park. Photo by Gerren Smith(1) Jacobe Hart for Malvern goes to make the out at third base against Nashville during their 7-4A Conference opener on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at Malvern National Bank Field at Morrison Park. Photo by Gerren Smith(2) Malaki Asher for Malvern makes the catch for the out at first base before a Nashville Scrapper can reach base during their 7-4A Conference opener on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at Malvern National Bank Field at Morrison Park. Photo by Gerren Smith(4) Parker Freer for Malvern maintains position to steal third base against Nashville during their 7-4A Conference opener on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at Malvern National Bank Field at Morrison Park. Photo by Gerren Smith
By: 
Gerren Smith
Staff Writer

For a hard fought bout on the diamond in senior high baseball action at Morrison Park on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, the hometown Malvern Leopards fell short to rivals' the Nashville Scrappers 3-2 in seven innings for both teams 7-4A Conference openers at Malvern National Bank Field. Malvern falls to 3-2 overall, 0-1 in conference. 2-time defending Class 4A state champions' Nashville remains unbeaten at 5-0 overall, 1-0 in conference.

The Diamond Leopards showcased another productive defensive performance to hold the reigning Class 4A state champion Nashville scoreless in the first, third, fourth, fifth and seventh innings. But, the Scrappers outscored the Leopards to prevail for the one run victory. Following a scoreless first inning, the Scrappers scored one run in the top of the first to lead Malvern 1-0.

The Scrappers held the one run lead through the third inning, but the Diamond Leopards rallied in the bottom of the fourth to take a two-run lead by scoring two runs in the fourth. At the end of the fourth, Malvern led Nashville, 2-1. Both Malvern and Nashville held each other scoreless in the fifth inning, but the Scrappers regained the momentum and scored two runs in the top of the sixth. Malvern fought hard to capitalize, but came up short and trailed their rivals' Nashville 3-2 at the end of the sixth inning. In the seventh inning, the Leopards did their job by holding the Scrappers scoreless in the top of the seventh, but the defending 4A state champions stepped up defensively to keep the Diamonds Leopards from scoring in the bottom of the seventh for victory.

Malvern totaled for two runs on three hits. Nashville recorded five hits on three runs. Malaki Asher, Christian Warren and Micah Hollyfield each had a hit apiece (singles) at the plate. Parker Freer recorded the lone RBI. Warren and Hollyfield each scored a run apiece for trips at home from rounding the bases to score.

At the mound, Hollyfield and Freer both brought the heat against Nashville. Hollyfield struck out six batters, allowed three hits, two runs, one earned run and walked eight batters in five (5.1) innings of work. Freer pitched one (1.2) inning allowed two hits, one run, one earned run and no walks.

The Diamond Leopards return to conference play on today, March 8, 2019 on the road at Mena to face the Bearcats for Malvern's first road battle in league baseball action.

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