Vicksburg 13s split two on tournament’s first day|[07/12/08]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 12, 2008

Errors helped the Vicksburg 13-year-olds’ All-Stars rally for six runs in the top of the seventh inning to extend their Babe Ruth state tournament game only to lose it in the bottom of the seventh on a walk-off errant throw.

Burnsville, located in Northeast Mississippi, escaped with the 8-7 win Friday afternoon at Halls Ferry Park despite blowing a 7-1 lead in the seventh. Burnsville advances to a 1 p.m. winners’ bracket game against St. Martin, which defeated Southwest Mississippi 13-3. Vicksburg, which won its opener earlier Friday over East Central, has to come back for a 10 a.m. game this morning against the Friday night winner between East Central and Southwest Mississippi.

“We knew they had a good ballclub so I wasn’t surprised that they came back,” Burnsville coach Jonathan Jones said. “Both teams brought out their sticks.”

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Burnsville had 11 hits, including two home runs but didn’t need a hit to score the winning run. A lead off walk and a ground out got the go-ahead run to second. Jones then subbed in Ben Kennedy to run with Bret Shea at the plate. They opted for a steal of third which worked as the throw went past the diving infielder and into left field, easily scoring Kennedy.

“We had our chances,” Vicksburg manager Jerry Gore said.

Burnsville had the game well in hand in the top of the seventh up 7-1 after a solo home run by pinch-hitter Slade Smith in the bottom of the sixth.

Shea was trying to get a dominant complete game win. He struck out eight and allowed just four hits through six innings.

But after one out, ran into problems. most of which were caused by his defense.

Pinch-hitter Blake Carroll singled in Vicksburg’s first run of the rally, but a second would-be run was tagged out at the plate. Instead of bases-loaded and one out, Vicksburg was down to its last out with just two men on.

Cam Upton, however, walked while Brandon Gates and Chase Ladd both reached on infield errors. Down 7-4, Zach Boyd cleared the bases with a gapper to right center for a double to score Upton, Gates and a sliding Ladd to tie the game at 7.

With Shea rattled, Boyd took off for third but was easily thrown out to end the rally.

Vicksburg 5, East Central 3

Neal Ricks’ two-run double in the top of the seventh inning led Vicksburg over East Central Friday morning in the opening game of the Babe Ruth State Tournament.

Ricks’ hit came with the bases-loaded, two out and broke a 3-3 tie.

“Neal did a good job against a tough pitcher,” Vicksburg manager Jerry Gore said. “The guys made me look good this time. We were able to capitalize on their mistakes.”

A misplayed ball in right field allowed Brandon Gates to stroll into second to lead off Vicksburg’s seventh inning. East Central pitcher, Kaleb Malone, who was working his seventh straight inning, hit Chase Ladd with a pitch.

Malone came back to strike out the next two batters to give him eight for the game. Andrew Collins, though, drew a walk to bring up Ricks. He jumped on the first pitch for a double that rolled to the right field corner, easily scoring Gates and Ladd for the 5-3 lead.

Reed Evans, who hadn’t pitched in over a month, came in and retired three of four batters he faced to nail down the save. Gabe Bufklin, who came on in the fourth in middle relief, went three innings for the win. He got out of a major jam in the sixth when Collins made a diving grab of a ball hit by East Central’s Kaleb Jones.

Lane Brooks appeared to come in with the go-ahead run on the play, but Vicksburg catcher Zach Boyd threw back to third anyway, on a quick appeal play. Brooks was ruled to have left too soon, though, and was the third out, leaving the game tied at 3.