FORT SMITH (KFSM) - The Sportsmen were supposed to be the heavy favorite in the American Legion state tournament this week but a three run rally in the ninth inning on Friday put the Fort Smith squad up against the wall.
They've fought their way off that wall two days in a row.
Dalton Reeves allowed one run on six hits in eight and 2/3 innings of work as the Sportsmen held off Jonesboro 3-1 in the loser's bracket of the state tournament.
Reeves was one strike away from completing the game but took himself out due to a heat related illness. Dalton Reeves came in to record the final out as he picked up a save for the second straight day.
"D.J. did an outstanding job and he just kept on laboring and truthfully every inning he came in and was looking better and better physically and he's a kid that wanted to finish it and gave us everything he had," Sportsmen manager Trey Prieur said. "One strike away from a complete game and just phenomenal job then Neves came in and shut the door. The team played so well today. I'm very proud of them."
The Ricemen held a 1-0 lead in the seventh but back to back wild pitches allowed a pair of runs to score as Fort Smith took the lead then Drew Person set the final margin as he capped the three run seventh inning with a RBI single to left.
Fort Smith advances to the finals of the loser's bracket and will play at 4 p.m. on Monday. If the Sportsmen win Monday, they would then need a pair of wins on Tuesday to claim the Arkansas state title.