Bandits, Blue Jays earn top seeds for semifinals

Published 11:47 pm Saturday, July 26, 2014

Under an unmericfully hot summer sun, the Vicksburg Bandits and Vicksburg Blue Jays both made sure their road to the Governor’s Cup championship round was made in the shade.

Both teams rolled to two pool play victories on Saturday, setting themselves up as top seeds in today’s 10- and 12-year-olds’ elimination rounds.

The Bandits beat Bulldog Baseball 8-2, and the Monroe Diamondbacks 8-4 to earn the No. 2 seed in the 10-year-olds’ bracket.

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They’ll face the Diamondbacks again today at noon in the semifinals. The winner of that game will play for the championship at 3 p.m.

Vicksburg Bandits catcher Jake Brister throws to first after the Diamondbacks' Dylan Lewis, left, scored a run in the first inning of a 10-year-olds' Governor's Cup game on Saturday. The Bandits won, 8-4. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

Vicksburg Bandits catcher Jake Brister throws to first after the Diamondbacks’ Dylan Lewis, left, scored a run in the first inning of a 10-year-olds’ Governor’s Cup game on Saturday. The Bandits won, 8-4. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

“We’re sitting good. You try for good seeding, but you can’t do any better than two wins,” Bandits coach Kevin Magee said.

After their easy win over Bulldog Baseball on Saturday morning, the Bandits had to scuffle a bit in their afternoon game. They fell behind 2-0 in the first inning before working out of a bases-loaded jam.

After tying it with two runs in the bottom of the first, the Bandits exploded for six runs in the second to take the lead for good. The game was called after three innings because of the 1 hour, 15 minute time limit in pool play.

Adam Francisco pitched two innings of strong relief for the Bandits, while Carter Magee scored two runs. Jake Brister had a single and scored a run.

The Bandits’ big inning was keyed by four walks and two errors committed by the Diamondbacks.

“Winning two games, you’ve got to be happy. They’re playing good ball,” Magee said.

In the 12-year-olds’ division, the Blue Jays won back-to-back games over the Forest Hill Crush and the Shockers to earn the No. 2 seed in today’s elimination round.

The Blue Jays beat Forest Hill 7-3, then used an explosion of offense to stifle the Shockers in a dominant 11-4 win.

The hitting showed up on the scoreboard, but it was the squad’s pitching that kept them balanced on a day when the 93-degree heat and high humidity sapped players’ strength.

“First thing, our pitching came out for us today and did real well. They pitched good, threw strikes, and that’s been a thing I’ve talked about a lot this year is just going out and throwing strikes,” Blue Jays coach Eric Douglas said. “Our hitters showed up. We just got the job done.”

The Blue Jays must now keep their focus after two convincing wins, and Douglas is trying to relax the team as they head into the final stretch of Governor’s Cup play.

They’ll play the Shockers again today in an elimination game at 10 a.m., then must win twice more — including back-to-back games in the afternoon heat — to earn their first Governor’s Cup championship.

“They’re 12. Boys are going to be boys,” Douglas said. “We’re going to find us some shade, kind of hang out, talk baseball and try to get ready for the next one.”

In other Governor’s Cup action Saturday:

• The Natchez All-Stars beat the Vicksburg Stars 18-3 and 13-3 in a best-of-three series for the 6-year-olds’ championship. Natchez and Vicksburg were the only teams to register for that age group.

• The Vicksburg Warriors were eliminated from the 8-year-olds’ tournament after losing twice to eventual champion D5 Baseball — 16-13 in pool play, and 11-1 in the semifinals.

• Eagles Baseball, a team made up of junior varsity players from Porters Chapel Academy, lost 9-4 in a 14-year-olds’ pool play game against the Southern Diamondbacks.

Eagles Baseball went 0-2 in pool play and is the No. 6 seed for today’s elimination round. They’ll take on the Mississippi Hawks today at 11 a.m.

The Hawks beat the Eagles 13-4 in pool play on Friday.