Mustangs enjoy successful week
Matthew Ibanez threw a no hitter Tuesday afternoon against Piggott as the Mustangs routed the Mohawks 13-0 at Monette to highlight a 3-1 week in prep baseball action.
Ibanez went the distance, fanning seven, while walking only one, while his teammates pounded out 12 hits to give him all the run support he needed as the senior righthander improved to 2-0 on the season. BIC was led at the plate by Brooks Taylor, who went 2-4, including a triple, four RBIs and three runs scored. Garrett Qualls was a perfect 3-3 with three runs scored while Three Rivers Community College signee Preston Despain banged out two hits, drove home two runs and scored two more. Brandon Ballard went 2-2 at the plate with two stolen bases and a run scored. Josh Nettles was 2-3 at the plate, scoring twice while Ibanez came around to score two runs to aid his own cause as the Mustangs improved to 4-0 in conference play.
BIC started the week on a losing note as Valley View proved to be poor guests with the Blazers coming away with a 6-1 victory at Monette. Jacob Johnson struck out 11 while firing a one hitter, a Garrett Qualls single.
Brandon Ballard, 4-1, took the loss, working six innings while giving up only one earned run. Ballard fanned five, walked three, while allowing five hits.
The Blazers scored twice in each of the second, third, and sixth innings while the Mustangs only run came in the fifth by an RBI grounder by Preston Despain. The Blazers were led at the plate by Matt Hill and Dustin Osment with two hits apiece as Valley View improved to 12-5 on the season.
Rain forced the Mustangs to wait until Saturday to begin play in the Craighead County Tournament but BIC came away with a pair of victories, defeating Rivercrest 7-2 before knocking off co-host Valley View 4-3 in eight innings to advance to the championship game to.
Derek Rolland, 4-0, went the distance to pick up the win over Rivercrest, striking out 10 while allowing six hits and two runs. Rolland also helped himself at the plate with two singles, two RBIs, three stolen bases and one run scored. Preston Despain went 2-4 with a double and a triple, driving in a run and scoring two more. Brandon Ballard had an RBI triple and Josh Nettles banged out a single to pace the Mustang attack.
BIC advanced to the championship game with the help of some trickery as they ousted Valley View. With the score tied 3-3 in the top of the eighth inning, the Blazers had the potential lead run at second when a pick off move by pitcher Brandon Ballard appeared to go into centerfield as the BIC middle infielders pretended to dive for the pick off throw. Instead, the ball was in the glove of shortstop Brooks Taylor, who tagged out the unsuspecting Blazer, ending the threat in what Blazer Coach John Burgi called the "turning point" of the game.
The Mustangs came up with the winning run in the bottom half of the eighth when Derek Rolland singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and stole third. Rolland scored the winning run on a passed ball, advancing the Mustangs to Monday's championship game against Nettleton.to be played at 6:00 at Westside.
Brandon Ballard, 5-1, went the distance, scattering nine hits while allowing three runs, all unearned. BIC banged out seven hits in the game, as they improved to 10-4 on the season. Preston Despain led the way, going 2-2, stealing two bases and scoring a run. Rolland, in addition to scoring the winning run, also had two hits. Garrett Qualls, Matthew Ibanez, and Jordan Phillips had one hit each.
"We are starting to play much better," said BIC Coach Todd Rhoades. "We took a step backwards when we lost Monday to Valley View, but everything came together the rest of the week. We are starting to hit a lot better, and are looking forward to Monday's game with the Raiders."
Following Monday's championship game, BIC will host Rector in a conference tilt on Tuesday at Monette before traveling to Walnut Ridge for another conference match-up Wednesday afternoon. The Mustangs will close the week as they participate in the Paragould Youth Tournament on Friday and Saturday.