Town Crier Sports Staff
Buffalo Island Central rallied twice to send Saturday night's first round regional tournament game against Walnut Ridge into extra innings, but Chris Logan ended the nine inning marathon with a game winning RBI single against a drawn-in infield, lifting the Bobcats to an 11-10 victory over the Mustangs at Newark.
The Bobcats started their winning rally when Heath Kennedy drew a lead off walk and advanced to third on back to back bunt singles by Jared Blackwell and William Wilcoxson to load the bases. The Mustangs were forced to bring in their infield and watched helplessly as Logan drilled his game winning single up the middle, scoring Heath Kennedy and ending BIC's state tournament hopes as well as the Mustang's season.
Walnut Ridge took a 5-2 lead into the sixth inning, but the Mustang's rallied with four runs to take a 6-5 lead, only the see the Bobcats score four of their own in the bottom of the sixth to take a 10-6 lead. But BIC refused to quit, scoring four times in the top of the seventh to tie the game
Trevor Matheny, who took the loss for BIC, shut down the Bobcats in both the seventh and eighth innings, before Walnut Ridge mounted their game winning rally in the ninth inning.
Seniors Jordan Phillips and Garrett Qualls, playing their last games as Mustangs, had a single apiece. Phillips finished with two stolen bases and scored three times while Qualls also scored a run. Matheny had an RBI double, scored twice and stole a base while Chad Williams singled, scored twice and stole a base. Freshmen Cody Smith and Heath Hawkins both singled and scored a run.
"Baseball is a humbling game," said BIC Coach Todd Rhoades. "We definitely had our opportunities. But the kids really showed a lot of toughness, scoring eight runs in the last two innings despite their youth. I thought their performance was unbelievable. I was very proud of them. It was just a back and forth game and unfortunately for us, they had the last at bat."
"Our seniors, Jordan Phillips and Garrett Qualls, will be hard to replace," continued Rhoades. "Qualls turned into a pretty good left handed pitcher and really put the ball in play. And what can you say about J.P? He is going to play at the next level. I really believe he is going to be a Division I player. They are both leaders and they take care of things for me. They are just quality young men."
The Mustangs began the week with a come from behind 6-5 victory over Cross County in the consolation game of the 2A-3 District Tournament Tuesday afternoon at Monette.
Cross County bolted to a 5-0 lead after four innings, but BIC scored four times in the sixth inning and added two more in the seventh to pull out the win.
Heath Hawkins drove in BIC's first run with an RBI base on balls before the Mustangs added another run on a wild pitch. Ross Clark cut the lead to 5-3 with an RBI single and BIC made it a one run game, scoring a run on a balk.
Garrett Qualls tied the score with an RBI single in the seventh and Jordan Phillips rode home with the game winning run on a Thunderbird error. Trevor Matheny pitched the scoreless seventh inning to gain the save.