Ballard cracks two-run homer as BIC rallies past GCT 8-7

Friday, April 8, 2005
Derek Rolland prepares to bat in action against Greene County Tech Thursday at Monette. Rolland had an RBI single, scored a run, and pitched four innings, allowing no runs, no walks and two hits as BIC improved to 7-3 on the season. (Town Crier photo/Trent Fletcher)

Brandon Ballard cracked a two-run walk off homer in the bottom of the seventh inning as Buffalo Island Central rallied from a 7-4 deficit to pull out an 8-7 victory over the Greene County Tech Golden Eagles Thursday afternoon at Monette.

Ballard's heroics capped off a 2-3 day at the plate for the senior short-stop who also stole four bases and scored three runs, helping the Mustangs to improve to 7-3 on the season.

BIC scored first with a run in the bottom of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead before Greene County Tech came back with a three run third to take a 3-1 edge. The Mustangs rallied with three of their own in the bottom half of the third to go up 4-3 before Tech scored four in the fourth to take a 7-4 lead. BIC chipped away with two runs in the fifth to pull within one, 7-6, before Ballard saved the Mustangs with a play that was designed to be a hit and run after second baseman Preston Despain had walked to lead off the inning.

Derek Rolland, 2-0, picked up the win in relief, going four shutout innings, striking out three, while giving up only two hits. Brooks Taylor started for the Mustangs and went the first three innings, allowing seven runs, four earned, on five hits.

Ballard was helped at the plate by Despain who also jacked a two run homer as well as scoring two runs. Rolland came up with a big RBI single in the fifth and scored a run while Taylor finished 2-3 at the plate with two runs scored and two stolen bases.

"We were just trying to tie the game up in the bottom of the seventh after Preston (Despain) walked," said BIC Coach Todd Rhoades. "But Brandon (Ballard) got all of the pitch and knocked it out of the park. It was a big win for us. Derek (Rolland) pitched great in relief, which gave us a chance to pull the game out."

On Tuesday, BIC defeated Walnut Ridge 6-2 as Brandon Ballard went the distance on the mound in improving to 3-0 on the season. Ballard fanned 10 Bobcats while giving up just five hits and only two walks. Only one of the two Bobcat runs were earned.

BIC was led at the plate by Garrett Qualls who had two singles and three RBIs, including a big two run RBI hit in the second. Brooks Taylor singled and scored a run, Preston Despain stole four bases and scored once, while Matthew Ibanez scored a pair of runs. The Mustangs were aided by six Bobcat errors.

Ryan Belcher took the loss for Walnut Ridge, despite giving up only three hits and no earned runs. Belcher also cracked a solo homer. With the win, BIC improved to 3-0 in 3AA North Conference play.

The Mustangs will resume play Monday afternoon with a non-conference game against Valley View at Monette. BIC will then play conference games Tuesday and Wednesday against Piggott and Marmaduke, also at Monette. BIC will participate in the Craighead County Tournament at Westside which will run Thursday-Saturday.

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