The Pine Bluff Zebras bounced back from Saturday’s loss to Star City with a 15-4 win in five innings over city rival Dollarway Monday night at Taylor Field.
“I think we bounced back well,” Pine Bluff head coach Ryan Stinson said. “We still made some mistakes, some mistakes that we are going to have to improve on.
“But every day is just an improving process.”
Pine Bluff scored six runs in the first inning to take the lead and then two in the bottom of the fourth to secure the 10-run mercy rule.
“We just couldn’t every get out of an inning,” Dollarway head coach Greg Cleveland said. “Even when we had two outs and had them held, they get a base hit or we would screw up and they score a couple of runs.”
In the fourth, Floyd Allen III hit a two-run double to plate Braylen Jones, who reached on a walk, and Michael Roberts, who reached on an infield hit. Allen’s hit gave the Zebras the 15-4 lead.
“I thought we hit the ball a little bit better,” Stinson said. “We are just trying to be consistent.”
With one out in the first, Braylen Jones was hit by a pitch to reach first. He later stole second and Brandon Starks hit an RBI single to tie the game at one. Aaron McDonald followed with a walk and a Jordan O’Guinn hit into a fielder’s choice that scored two runs. Demetrius Anderson hit a RBI single and later scored on an infield single by Gealander Harris.
After Walter Ashley reached on a bunt, Adam Graham hit an RBI single but Ashley was thrown out at home to end the inning.
“I’m not saying we are anywhere near where we need to be, ‘cause we’re not,” Stinson said. “But we played better and we played hard, so that is a plus.”
O’Guinn earn the win, working three innings, allowing two runs (both earned) on three this with three walks and two strikeouts.
Harris closed out the game and allowed two runs (both earned) on four hits with a strikeout and two walks.
Dion Hill started behind the plate for Dollarway. His inexperienced showed as Pine Bluff had 11 steals including two from Graham, Jones, Ti’Montai Bolden and Michael Roberts.
“We have been working with freshman and sophomore catchers, and they are both learning on the job,” Cleveland said. “They both could be really good catchers.
“My philosophy is, you can’t steal first and you can’t steal home. I’m not too worried about second or third.
“You still got to get base hits to get them home.”
Cleveland did say he thought Hill did a better job at blocking balls to prevent them going to the backstop than Pine Bluff’s catcher.
Kacy Higgins went just one inning for Dollarway as he allowed nine runs (eight earned) on six hits with two walks. Rayshon Blake pitched three innings, allowing six runs (all earned) on eight hits with three walks and one strikeout.
“We just have to get tougher mentally,” Cleveland said. “We are growing every day but we have to have some positive things happen early.”
Dollarway led 1-0 after the first inning on an RBI-single by Blake to plate Henry Murphy. Murphy finished the game 3 for 3 with two runs, a walk and a RBI.
Dollarway also scored two runs in the fourth inning to cut Pine Bluff’s lead to 13-4.
The Zebras scored three runs in the second and four runs in the third.
Anderson led the Zebras with two hits with four RBIs and a run scored. Graham was 2 of 3 with a run and a RBI. McDonald was 1 of 1 with three runs, two RBIs and a walk.
O’Guinn was 2 of 3 with three RBIs and a walk while Harris was 2 of 3 with a run and a RBI.
Pine Bluff will play at Texarkana today beginning at 5 p.m. Dollarway will play at Rison beginning at 4:30 p.m.