Mustangs stun Cougars 2-1

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Nathan Whitlow's two-out RBI single in the top of the eighth inning gave Buffalo Island Central a 2-1 victory over Rector, propelling the underdog Mustangs to next week's Regional Tournament in Walnut Ridge. Rector had run-ruled BIC in two previous games during the regular season, but the Mustangs turned the tables in the biggest game of the year, ending the Cougar's season.

Mustang catcher Heath Hawkins celebrates with pitcher Blake Wheeler (4) following BIC's 2-1 regional qualifying victory over Rector Saturday afternoon at Monette. (Town Crier photo/Trent Fletcher)

Blake Wheeler started the inning with a lead-off double, and came home with what proved to be the winning run two outs later on Whitlow's clutch hit.

The Mustangs took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning when second baseman Ben Cole executed a perfect squeeze bunt, scoring starting pitcher Isaac Ibanez from third base. Ibanez had singled earlier in the inning to start the BIC rally.

Rector tied the score in the bottom of the fifth inning on a base hit off the bat of Clinton Haley. Haley's RBI single drove home Dalton Shaw, who had doubled to lead off the inning.

Nathan Parnell had a double for the Mustangs. Ibanez pitched the first six innings, allowing just one run while striking out five and walking two. Wheeler notched the victory with two innings of scoreless pitching.

Logan Buck took the loss for Rector.

"I am really proud of the kids," said Mustang Coach Dion Hargrove. "It's been a tough year but we've hung in there. We've picked a good time to peak. Our left handed pitching has been really good in the tournament. Blake (Wheeler) pitched very good yesterday and Isaac (Ibanez) gave us six good innings today. We made the key plays when we had to. Our whole team contributed. Everybody had a role. We got lucky and got some timely hits."

The Mustangs will play number one seeded East Poinsett County Monday afternoon.

BIC won the opening game of the tournament with a come from behind 7-3 win over Cross County. The Thunderbirds scored three runs in the first inning for a 3-0 lead, but the Mustangs rallied, scoring three times in the fifth inning to tie the game 3-3.

BIC got RBI singles from Nathan Whitlow and Ben Cole to highlight the three run fifth. The Mustangs took the lead for good, scoring three more runs in the sixth inning. Blake Wheeler and Ben Cole got RBI hits as the Mustangs took a 6-3 lead.

Isaac Ibanez drove in the run in the seventh to round out the scoring for BIC.

Wheeler picked up the victory for the Mustangs.

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