Pine Bluff’s Adam Graham lets the ball slip out of his glove as he attempts to tag out Star City’s Max Ross on Saturday. (Special to the Commercial/William Harvey)
Star City scored 12 runs in the first inning as it defeated Pine Bluff 16-1 in five innings in the third-place game of the Billy Bock Classic on Saturday at Taylor Field.
“We just came out with some good intensity and we were aggressive offensively,” Star City head coach Scott Johnson said. “I was very pleased with the way we played and I hope we can build off today and carry it into our conference.”
Star City will play at Monticello on Monday. Pine Bluff will host Dollarway at Taylor Field on Monday at 4:30 p.m.
Zack House, Blake Wynn and Austin Powell led off the first with back-to-back singles to load the bases. An infield hit by Austin Capps scored the game’s first run and a walk to Max Ross forced in another run.
With one out, an error at shortstop allowed another run to score. With the bases loaded, Bo McBroom hit a ball back to the pitcher. McBroom was out at first on the groundout but two runs were able to score on the play.
Cole Muckleroy walked and House followed a two-run triple to give Star City a 7-0 lead.
An error at first allowed Wynn to reach and plated House from third. Powell walked and Capps was hit-by-a-pitch to load the bases again.
Ross followed with two-run double and Ty Brown hit a two-run single to give Star City the 12-0 lead before Pine Bluff relief pitcher J’Marlos Johnson was brought in for the final out of the inning.
“They hit the ball and we made some mistakes,” Pine Bluff head coach Ryan Stinson said. “We didn’t really play well in the beginning of the game.
“After that inning, we kind of settled down. But it is like you said, 12 runs is kind of hard to overcome.”
Star City scored two more runs in the third inning. Ross hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning to give Star City the 16-1 lead.
Ross, a junior, finished the game 3 of 4 with a home run, a double, a walk, four runs scored, and five RBIs. House had a triple, two runs and two RBIs.
“Zack has done a good job for us,” Johnson said. “He is one of the two seniors that we have. We’ve got 13 freshmen out of 20 players.
“So we are young, but I was pleased with our older guys and their leadership. We got to have some quality leadership out of these guys to bring these young guys along.”
Pine Bluff scored its only run in the third inning thanks to a RBI single by senior Demetrius Anderson. His hit plated Jordan O’Guinn who had reached on an error.
“We made some mistakes at the plate and on the field,” Stinson said. “We are trying to be aggressive as we can because we aren’t hitting the ball well as a team right now.
“Trying to do the small things to manufacture some runs and we just didn’t get it done today.”
Anderson finished the game 2 of 3 with a RBI. Walter Ashley and Johnson each had a hit. Pine Bluff combined for seven hits in the game.
Star City freshman Cody Hall is credited with the win. He pitched five innings, allowing one run on seven hits with one walk and five strikeouts.
For Pine Bluff, Johnson pitched 3 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on three hits with two walks and four hits. Senior Brandon Starks is credited with the loss.