Both the Buffalo Island Central Mustangs and the Bay Yellowjackets came into the 2004 Craighead County Baseball Tournament as two of the hotter teams in the area. But when the dust had settled, Bay came away with a 3-0 victory to claim the championship in a low scoring affair.
Bay jumped out to 1-0 lead in the first inning when Brett Hogan slammed an RBI single up the middle, scoring Robby Bollinger. The Jackets added to their lead in the second inning when Kellen Gage scored on an RBI single off the bat of Sye Barnett. Bay got their final run of the game in the sixth inning when Barnett drove in his second run of the game with an RBI triple to left field.
The Mustangs managed only four hits in the game but could never mount an offensive attack as Davey Webb went the distance for Bay, striking out eight Ponies while issuing only one walk in pitching the shutout.
Derek Rolland was almost as good for the Mustangs, as he struck out 10 Jackets while giving up only four hits as well, but Bay was able to come up with the key hits while the Mustangs couldn't.
BIC got hits from Brooks Taylor, Josh Shepard, Preston Despain and Brandon Ballard, but stranded four runners in the game and had a runner picked off base.
"Davey (Webb) got better as the game went on and didn't allow us to play the kind of game we like to play," said BIC coach Todd Rhoades. "We had a couple of chances early in the game, but didn't capitalize. Bay didn't give us many opportunities, but we have to have better at bats. Give Bay credit. They made all the plays. I thought Derek (Rolland) did a good job. He didn(t deserve to lose that game."
Bay coach Brandon Craig said, "We had great pitching in both the championship and the semifinal games. We played well overall, but we left too many runners stranded. We have to do a better job there. We did what we had to do to win. We had some guys hit in big times and had good base running. We are starting to play and come alive. It feels good," concluded Craig.
BIC reached the championship game by defeating Westside 8-2 earlier in the day in a semifinal game.
Brett Sexton crushed a two-run home run in the fifth inning and added three RBIs to lead BIC's offensive attack. Josh Shepard also homered in the first inning, a solo shot, in going 2-4 with one RBI in the game. Brandon Ballard and Brooks Taylor also went 2-4.
Ballard got the win in seven innings of work, giving up two runs on six hits. Ballard struck out eight Warrior batters and walked only one.
Chad Wynn led Westside with two doubles, going 2-3.
BIC got off to a good start in the tournament by picking up a hard fought 6-3 victory over a tough Valley View team Friday afternoon at Caraway.
Mark Hawkins (3-1) picked up the win, working six innings, striking out four, walking three, while allowing only four hits and one earned run. Josh Shepard came on in the seventh to pick up the save, despite giving up a run and a couple of walks.
BIC was led at the plate by Shepard, who had four hits, including a pair of doubles with two runs scored and two stolen bases. Brooks Taylor singled twice, scored twice, and stole two bases while Brandon Ballard ripped a pair of doubles and drove in a run. Brett Sexton, Preston Despain and Derek Rolland rounded out the Mustang attack with one hit apiece.
The Mustangs began their week by picking up a 3AA-North Conference victory over Crowley's Ridge Academy Tuesday afternoon at Paragould.
BIC pounded out 18 hits to blow away the Falcons 18-2. Brandon Ballard (4-2) earned the victory for the Ponies, pitching four innings while giving up two runs on three hits. Ballard struck out three and walked three.
Every batter in the BIC order had at least one hit, led by Brett Sexton who homered, doubled, and drove in five runs. Chris Deeds had three hits and two RBIs. Brooks Taylor, Josh Shepard, Mark Hawkins and Jonas Rose all had two hits apiece for the Mustangs.
On Thursday the Mustangs traveled to Marmaduke and came away with sweet revenge from an earlier season loss to the Greyhounds. Brett Sexton and Chris Deeds both hit two run homers to lead BIC to a 15-0 thrashing in 3AA-North Conference action.
BIC, which improved to 5-2 in league play, also got offensive production from Brooks Taylor and Jonas Rose, who drove in a pair of runs apiece. Matthew Ibanez, Derek Rolland, Brandon Ballard and Mark Hawkins all scored twice for the Mustangs. BIC was helped out by nine Marmaduke errors.
Derek Rolland, 5-2, picked up the win, striking out five, while allowing only one hit in two innings of action. Preston Despain came in to pitch the third inning, allowing only one hit. BIC will have a full slate of action beginning Monday with a day/night doubleheader at Monette. The Mustangs will play a 4 conference game against CRA and then will complete the evening with a non-conference battle against the powerful Gosnell Pirates. Tuesday, the Mustangs travel to Maynard for another conference battle before returning home Wednesday to face Walnut Ridge in conference action. BIC closes out the week at home Friday in a rematch of the County Championship against Bay.