(Town Crier photo/Trent Fletcher)
Instead of "Redemption Saturday," both games resembled Christmas in March as both the Lions and the Rebels handed the Ponies runs in bunches with poor defense and numerous walks as BIC rolled to 10-0 five-inning victories in both games.
BIC, 10-6, rode the pitching and hitting of Preston Despain in the first game against Manila. Despain went 2-2, scored three runs, and reached base two more times via base on balls. Despain, 3-0, also went the distance on the mound, allowing only an infield hit leading off the game by Manila's Matt Noble. He was perfect from then on, allowing no base runners in pitching a one-hit, eight strike-out gem.
Brett Sexton had two hits and an RBI, while Brandon Ballard drew two walks and drove in two runs and Chris Deeds scored twice to go along with an RBI to help with the Mustang attack.
In the nightcap, BIC struck first against the Rebels when Brooks Taylor reached first base with a one-out infield hit. One out later, after Taylor had reached third on a wild pitch by Riverside starter Michael Dewitt, Dewitt uncorked his second wild pitch of the evening, allowing Taylor to score from third to give the Ponies a 1-0 lead. Brandon Ballard then drew a two-out walk, stole second, and came home on an RBI single by Mark Hawkins to push the Mustang lead to 2-0. Hawkins then wandered too far off first base and was picked off by Dewitt to end the inning.
BIC starter Brandon Ballard pitched out of a two-on, one-out jam in the second, by striking out M. J. Emery and Josh Davis after Kevin Winford had reached base on a walk and freshman Caleb McCuskey got the Rebels first hit of the game with a perfect bunt single down the third base line.
In the third inning, Taylor again got things started off for the Mustangs by drawing a one-out walk. Taylor then stole second base and reached third on a wild pitch, the Rebels third of the game. Sexton then drew a walk, but Dewitt struck out Ballard for the second out of the inning. However, another wild pitch, Riverside(s fourth, allowed Taylor to walk in with the third BIC run and after back to back walks to Hawkins and Derek Rolland loaded the bases, a passed ball allowed Hawkins to score, giving BIC a 4-0 lead. Then first baseman Christ Deeds laced a two-out, two-run double, and the Mustangs were up 6-0 after three innings.
Ballard retired Riverside in the fourth, allowing only a Matt Snyder single, and then blew the game open with a four-run outburst. The inning started harmlessly with Jonas Rose popping out to second, but Despain drew a walk and Taylor reached on an error and stole second to put runners on second and third. Sexton then singled in a run, making the score 7-0, before BIC scored another run on yet another Rebel wild pitch to push the score to 8-0. BIC capped off the scoring as Hawkins scored Sexton on a sacrifice fly and Ballard scored on Riverside's seventh wild pitch of the game to close out the scoring.
Ballard retired the Rebels in order in the fifth, as the Mustangs improved to 10-6 on the year, while the Rebels dropped to 6-4.
The Mustangs were the beneficiary of nine walks to go along with the seven wild pitches and one passed ball. BIC finished with five hits.
Dewitt (1-1) suffered the loss, allowing nine runs, only two being earned. Dewitt gave up four hits and seven walks over 4 1/3 innings.
BIC started the week by hammering out a 14-4 victory over the Maynard Tigers in 3AA-North Conference action. The Ponies had seven hits, drew nine walks and stole 10 bases to back a strong pitching performance by Preston Despain, who pitched a five inning complete game. Despain allowed only one hit and two earned runs, while striking out eight Tigers.
Brett Sexton led the Mustangs at the plate with two doubles, two RBI's, and two runs scored. Derek Rolland reached base three times, once on a single and twice on walks. Rolland also stole two bases and scored three runs. Jonas Rose doubled and had two RBI's while Brooks Taylor added a hit, scored a run, drove in a run and stole two bases.
On Tuesday the Mustangs were shutout 6-0 at Walnut Ridge as the Bobcats used a four-run first inning capped off by a two-run homer by Derek Smith. Andrew Ballard went the distance for the Bobats, allowing just four hits and striking out three in pitching the shut-out.
Brandon Ballard suffered the loss for BIC, giving up five runs on five hits in four innings of work.
In Wednesday's action, the Mustangs were outslugged 12-11 by the Manila Lions. Juan Moyeda scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning on a wild pitch to cap a come-from-behind win.
The Mustangs led 10-6 entering the bottom of the sixth inning, before Manila rallied with a four-run sixth inning to tie the score at 10-10. BIC then regained the lead with a run in the top of the seventh before the Lions rallied with two runs of their own to pull out the victory.
Derek Rolland, 2-2, took the loss in relief for BIC, while Justin Hill, 1-0, worked the sixth and seventh innings pitching no-hit, no-run ball in gaining the victory for the Lions.
Rolland, Brett Sexton and Mark Hawkins all went 2-4 at the plate for the Mustangs. One of Sexton hits was a three-run homer in the third inning. Chris Deeds also blasted a solo home run for the Ponies in the top of the fifth inning.
Josh McDaniel led the 5-4 Lions with a 3-5 performance at the plate. McDaniel and Moyeda stroked back-to-back homers in the sixth to lead the Manila comeback.
"It's been an up and down season so far," said first year BIC coach Todd Rhoades. "Some games we maybe should have won, but we have beaten some good teams and lost to some good teams. I think we are starting to come together, especially in the last three games. Hopefully, we will get it together for the district tournament, because region and state are right around the corner. We are swinging the bats really well, and Preston Despain is giving us some solid pitching right now," concluded Rhoades.