SPRINGDALE, Ark. — The Diamond Wildcats and the Clever Blue Jays have developed a rivalry in recent seasons and on Sunday afternoon, they took their rivalry to Arvest Ballpark, home of the Kansas City Royals’ Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

SPRINGDALE, Ark. — The Diamond Wildcats and the Clever Blue Jays have developed a rivalry in recent seasons and on Sunday afternoon, they took their rivalry to Arvest Ballpark, home of the Kansas City Royals’ Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
Diamond took an early 2-0 lead and it held until Clever scored one in the third and three in the sixth to earn a thrilling 4-3 win.
“We wanted to take on fastballs early in the count,” Diamond head coach Zach Shockey said. “In the first couple innings, we were doing that and hit the ball hard. We continued to do it on the first pitch, but we were just missing them. It’s one of those games you’ve got to remember they’re high school kids out there and mental errors happen. It happened both ways and we finally just made one more than they did in the seventh.”
In the top of the seventh, down 4-2, Diamond’s Logan Brock reached base on a hit by pitch from Clever starter Chris Amtower. Amtower struck out Cole Seward and Blake Drake grounded out to second for a pair of outs. Jerimiah Bridgewater kept Diamond alive and reached on an infield single. Eventually, it all came down to a Carter Prewitt grounder hit to the Clever second baseman, who went from making an error on the bobble to making the game’s final out when he recovered and threw a strike to third to nab Bridgewater to end the game 4-3. Brock scored on the play.
“We had the middle of the order coming up,” Shockey said. “Baserunning mistake, but you can’t predict the future to see if we would have knocked him in anyway. Just being aggressive and it caught us. He was going on the pitch. They made a good play to notice him and get the throw over there.”
Clever made its rally in the sixth against Diamond starter Trey Bowman, who stymied the Blue Jays for most of the game. Dawson Little hit a leadoff single, stole second and later scored on a mad dash to the plate for a tie score. In a game where hits were at a premium, Devon Atnip then delivered the winning two-out two-run double, scoring Tristan Tanner and Tyler Edwards.
Clever scored its first run in the fourth. Tanner hit a leadoff single, stole second, advanced to third on an Edwards groundout and scored on a Colby Elrod single. Those hits were the first two of the game against Bowman, who struck out five in the first three innings and finished with 10. Drake’s diving catch in center highlighted the fourth for Diamond.
After generating five runners in the first and two in the second, Diamond slowed down in the middle and late innings, retired in order in the third, fourth and sixth, with just a single runner aboard on Amtower and the Blue Jays in the fifth.
Bridgewater and Prewitt hit back-to-back singles in the Diamond first and Bowman supported himself with a RBI single.
At the end of the day, Diamond and Clever played on the same field where Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and several others called home before embarking on their MLB careers.
“It was awesome,” Shockey said. “Dugout was awesome. We were fortunate that we played in Joe Becker a couple weeks ago and now we’re here. The boys love it. Awesome opportunity for them. Thankful we got invited down here by the Naturals. Wish that we had a different result, but still a really good game against a really good team.”
Clever (7-9) snapped Diamond’s five-game winning streak dating back to the Mickey Mantle Classic and the Wildcats fell to 9-4 on the season. Diamond returns to Spring River Valley Conference action today against Jasper.
“We’re playing really good ball,” Shockey said. “We’re 5-1 over the last six. Hitting the ball much better. Defensively, we’ve been solid. We’re pitching the ball exceptionally well, so hopefully, we’ll get another shot at them in districts and take care of business.
“Amtower’s a personal nemesis of ours and it looked like maybe we were going to knock him out of the game early. They had somebody going in the third and he settled down. We started missing his fastball. Fouling it off and we were driving it into center field. Credit to him.”
Diamond’s recent history with Clever includes two losses last season, 3-2 in the season opener and 8-2 in the Class 3, District 12 tournament. The Blue Jays pulled off the same feat the previous season, 12-8 in the opener and 3-1 in the district tournament. The Wildcats lost their only meeting against Clever in 2013.

CLEVER 4, DIAMOND 3
Diamond           200  000 1 — 3  5   1
Clever           000  103  x — 4  4  4
WP: Chris Amtower. LP: Trey Bowman. 2B: Devon Atnip. SH: Jerimiah Bridgewater. SB: Bowman, Logan Brock; Tristan Tanner, Dawson Little. HBP: Bridgewater; Little. LOB: Diamond 6, Clever 4.