Where Baseball is TONS of Fun!

By: Cade Haak

Fort Smith, AR (June 6th, 2024) – The Texarkana Rhinos fell to the Fort Smith Marshals 16-6 in game one of the four-game series. Following this loss, the Rhinos currently sit at the bottom of the Mid-America League standings with a record of 1-7, while the Marshals are comfortably in third place with a record of 6-4. With this win, Fort Smith also leads the season series against the Rhinos handily with 5 wins and just 1 loss against them. 

Despite the lopsided final score, the game was a close contest after the first five innings. Both the top and bottom of the first saw a single run scored. The Rhinos struck first when Ian Guanzon was able to score to get the game started, but the Marshals responded with one run of their own when Austin Rabago crossed home on a wild pitch. 

In the bottom of the second inning, Fort Smith swung momentum in their favor by stringing together a four-run inning, highlighted by a single from Elija West that made its way into left field and drove in two runs. 

Innings three and four saw both teams scoreless, with a great duel taking place on the mound between the Rhinos relief pitcher, Christian Rosales, who came in after Conor Francesconi was pulled in the second, and the Marshals’ starter, Jett Frazier. 

In the fifth inning, the Rhinos struck back with three runs of their own to put the score at just 4-5 in favor of Fort Smith. The first of these three runs was brought in by the bat of Neil Jansen, who made solid contact to the left side of the field to drive home Gabriel Natividad. Sebastian Huerta followed this up by hitting a sacrifice fly deep enough into center field to bring in Ian Guanzon from third base, scoring his second run of the game. Then the Rhinos were able to cap off the inning by bringing across one more run when Rylan Evans got a good jump and scored on a wild pitch. 

Even with momentum now favoring the Rhinos, the Marshals had a huge outburst offensively in the bottom of the six, scoring eight runs to put their lead at a towering 13-4. Regardless of this, the Rhinos showed life in the top of the seventh when Yuto Mimura drove in Neil Jansen and Ian Guanzon on a double that found the right centerfield gap. 

Ultimately, with three more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Fort Smith’s offensive outbursts proved to be the difference-maker in the first game on their home turf. The Rhinos are now regrouping and preparing to play the next three games against the Marshals in Fort Smith over the next three days before coming back into Texarkana to defend George Dobson Field against the Joplin Outlaws on June 11th. 

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