It was not a "good" Friday for the Marked Tree senior boys baseball team last Friday, as they lost a pair of district games in Marked Tree.
Before a good-sized crowd on Good Friday at Indian Field, the opponents' bats came alive with a 15-3 win by BIC and a 6-3 victory by Riverside, over Marked Tree.
In the first game, the BIC Mustangs, coached by Bill Taylor, slugged out 15 runs on 15 hits on Marked Tree pitchers Daniel Craig and Roger Bickerstaff. BIC scored three runs in the first, five runs in the fifth, and seven runs in the sixth, to cap their scoring. However, BIC's productivity was not limited to the bats. BIC (10-2), led on the mound by pitchers Josh Shepard and Brandon Ballard, combined for twelve strikeouts and two walks on Marked Tree. Marked Tree's scoring came through one run in the third and two runs in the fifth.
In the top of the first inning, BIC scored first when Brett Sexton singled in Ryan Wallace for a 1-0 lead. Then, a couple of wild pitches allowed Sexton to move over to third base. Sexton later scored on a groundout to third base by Mark Hawkins, giving BIC a 2-0 lead. The third run of the inning came when Justin Hawkins scored on a wild pitch, to the backstop. Marked Tree narrowed the BIC lead in the bottom of the third to 3-1, when first baseman T.J. Johnson smacked a double into left-center field, scoring Braden Malone.
In the fifth and sixth innings, BIC started its barrage on Marked Tree pitching. The Mustangs scored 12 runs in those two innings, putting them on top for good. BIC picked up six runs on three, 2-run singles by Ballard, Preston DeSpain, and Ryan Wallace, in those two innings. The Mustangs also added RBI's from Josh Shepard and Shaun Fleming to cap the scoring.
After the game, BIC head baseball coach Bill Taylor contributed his team's victory to "a good, all-around effort" by his team's hitting and pitching, with no errors fielding wise. Taylor also singled out pitcher Josh Shepard and relief pitcher Brandon Ballard, along with Justin Hawkins for contributing to the victory. Shepard (1-0) receives the win on his first time on the mound this year for BIC.
In the second game, the Marked Tree Indians also faced another good hitting and pitching team, the Riverside Rebels. However, it was the pitching of Riverside pitcher Daniel Eakins that contributed to a 6-3 victory by Riverside. Eakins struck out 13 Marked Tree batters, giving up two earned runs on seven hits, for the complete game victory. Riverside scored one run in the first, one run in the fifth, three runs in the sixth, and one run in the seventh to pick up the win. Marked Tree scored all of its runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to cap their scoring. After an RBI single by Tim Austin, giving Riverside a 1-0 lead, Marked Tree pitcher Jeffrey Thompson settled down, striking out three straight Riverside batters to end the threat. The team then turned into a pitching battle between Thompson and Eakins. Each pitcher controlled the mound and their opposing team until the fifth inning. In the top of the fifth, a series of Marked Tree miscues gave Riverside a chance to pick up some runs. After a fly out by Jeremy Mann, both Daniel Eakins and Steven Dewitt reached on errors. One batter later, Austin punished Marked Tree again, with an RBI single, scoring Eakins. That score gave Riverside a 2-0 lead. However, Marked Tree's bats came alive in the bottom of the fifth. The inning started with a Jared Gillis single to center field and a Roger Bickerstaff infield single. Following a Wade Drace walk, Braden Malone cleared the bases with a single. That single gave Marked Tree a 3-2 lead. However, Riverside scored four runs in the final two innings, to take the 6-3 win. After the game, Marked Tree baseball coach Andy Stallings stated that his team played better in the second game and that his team must continue to play harder.
Marked Tree hits the road this week, with games against Trumann on Tuesday and at Rector on Thursday. Both games are scheduled for 4:00 p.m.