Vicksburg 14-year-olds split pair at Ruth tourney|[07/12/08]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Vicksburg 14-year-olds’ All-Stars thwarted one comeback with another on Friday.

Jake Busby threw 4 1/3 innings of one-hit ball – the first three innings of the game and the last 1 1/3 – Travis Barnett went 3-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored, and Vicksburg held on to beat Gautier 7-5 in the opening game of the 14-year-olds Babe Ruth state tournament at Bazinsky Field.

The win sent Vicksburg into a winners’ bracket game later Friday night, where it lost to Long Beach 13-3. Vicksburg will play Southwest Mississippi today at 1 p.m.

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“We played really well. Our defense was solid, our batting was solid, our pitching was solid. We had a couple of errors, but it was a good way to start the tournament,” said Busby, who struck out five and walked one during his time on the mound in the opener.

Against Gautier, Vicksburg combined Busby’s pitching with a series of manufactured runs and goofy plays to scratch out a 3-0 lead after three innings. Vicksburg scored two runs on wild pitches – including Barnett, after he blooped a hit to center that skipped past Stephen Coleman’s glove for a triple.

Another run scored when Matthew Wooten chopped a grounder to third with runners at second and third with no outs in the second inning. Gautier’s Gage Miles threw home, getting Vicksburg’s Bill McRight in a rundown, but McRight was able to make it back to third. The only problem was Josh Eargle, the runner at second, had also made it to third.

Eargle broke back to second, but was later ruled out after the umpires huddled together. As Gautier chased him back to second, however, McRight again went toward the plate and scored.

“The umpires made the right call there,” Vicksburg coach Mark Buys said. “We’re big believers in small ball. We stole a lot today.”

Vicksburg stretched its lead to 7-2 with four runs in the fourth. Two of them scored on a double by Cody Waddell, who was 2-for-4 in the game.

Gautier cut into the lead in the sixth, though, scoring three times off reliever Zack Sumrall before Busby returned to slam the door.

Busby pitched the first three innings and allowed only one walk. He came back in with two on, two out and the All-Stars clinging to a 7-5 lead. Busby got Robbie Fisher to ground out to third to end the sixth, then quickly retired the first two batters in the seventh, then allowed a hit before ending the game.