BIC falls just short in bid for county title
It was a busy week for Coach Todd Rhoades' Buffalo Island Central Mustangs. BIC opened the week dropping a tough 9-8 3AA North Conference contest to Marmaduke in 12 innings last Monday afternoon at Monette. The Mustangs bounced back Wednesday afternoon at Monette and ripped Rector 10-1.
BIC traveled to Valley View Friday night to open play in the Craighead County Tournament and came away with a 13-3 blowout over Bay in the first round to advance to the semi-finals on Saturday. The Mustangs disposed of host Valley View 16-10 Saturday morning to advance to Saturday afternoon's finals against the Nettleton Raiders.
The Mustangs jumped to an early lead by scoring a run in the first inning thanks to three walks and a wild pitch from Nettleton starter Garrett Shatley. BIC added another run in the second when Randy Ibanez lashed a double and then rode home when BIC pitcher Brooks Taylor ripped an RBI single to centerfield, giving the Mustangs a 2-0 lead.
Taylor held the Raiders scoreless until the sixth inning when Nettleton scored three times to pull ahead 3-2. BIC failed to muster any late offensive heroics and the Raiders came away with the County Championship.
In the victory over Bay, Jordan Phillips launched a game breaking three run homer to ignite a seven run fifth inning as the Mustangs mercy ruled Bay 13-3. Phillips finished the day with four RBIs, two hits and two runs scored. Brooks Taylor had a double and scored a pair of runs while Derek Rolland, Ken Womack, Randy Ibanez, and Chris Deeds all had one hit. Rolland, Womack and Chad Williams scored two runs each while Garrett Qualls scored a run and added an RBI. Hunter Smith and Ibanez also scored runs. Chad Williams picked up the victory, scattering seven hits while striking out four.
In the victory over Rector, Brooks Taylor led the way with three hits and an RBI. Jordan Phillips drove in three runs with a hit and stole four bases. Phillips also scored a run. Hunter Smith, Randy Ibanez, and Ken Womack all had singles. Derek Rolland scored twice, had two RBIs and stole a pair of bases. Garrett Qualls scored two runs while Ibanez and Womack scored a run apiece. Qualls (2-1) limited the Cougars to just three hits in five innings of work. The junior lefthander allowed just one unearned run.
Marmaduke traveled to BIC Monday afternoon and played as the home team due to being unable to play on their home field as a result of the recent tornado. The Greyhounds took full advantage of the opportunity, scoring two runs in the bottom of the 12th inning to rally for a 9-8 win in a key 3AA North Conference battle.
BIC was led at the plate by Hunter Smith who had three hits, including a double and three RBIs. Jordan Phillips added two hits including a double, scored four runs and stole three bases. Brooks Taylor had two hits and Ken Womack drove in two runs, had one hit and scored a run. Derek Rolland had an RBI single and scored a run while Garrett Qualls added an RBI.
Rolland pitched the first eight innings for the Mustangs, giving up seven runs, four earned. The senior righthander fanned seven while walking four. Chad Williams suffered the loss, going four innings, giving up two runs, two hits, while walking four and striking out one.
"We've been up and down," said BIC Coach Todd Rhoades. "The thing for us is we are swinging the bats better now. Even in the last two years, that's always the last thing to come around. We've always played good enough defense and pitched well enough to keep us in the ball games, so if we can the hit the ball we can win these games. If we can play a little small ball, that really helps."
The Mustangs (12-5) will return to action Monday when they travel to Walnut Ridge for an important 3AA North Conference game. BIC will journey to Brookland Tuesday afternoon to face the Bearcats and then will head north to Maynard to play the Tigers Thursday afternoon in another league game. BIC will open District Tournament play at Walnut Ridge beginning April 22.
The Mustangs placed three players on the All County Tournament team: Brooks Taylor, Derek Rolland and Jordan Phillips.