PBNB overcomes slow start to down Optimist

It took a couple of innings, but the Pine Bluff National Bank Dixie Baseball*** team finally caught up to the slower pitching of Optimist as they scored four runs in the fifth inning and won 8-1 in the first game of the second day of the Jim Hill Wood Bat Classic at Seabrook Family Christian Center.

“It was a real slow start,” PBNB manager John*** Skillen said. “This team is used to a little bit faster pitching and it just took them a while before they could come around and catch up.”

After scoring just two runs in the first three innings, PBNB (the company now known as Relyance Bank) scored six over the last two innings en route to the seven-run lead.

Jeffrey Jones led off the bottom of the fifth with an infield single and scored after back-to-back singles by Clayton Bowers and Nick Trail to give PBNB a 3-1 lead.

A single by Cody Andersen plated another run and John Reed followed with a single as well to load the bases. Optimist brought in Joe Moore, who got the first batter to pop out for the first out of the inning.

Jacob Andersen hit a two-run double to plate his brother Cody and Trail. The game was called after that due to the time limit.

“Slowing their bat speed down, that’s what it took,” Skillen said. “There towards the end, we finally did what needed to be done.”

Optimist’s Arron Frazier was tagged with the loss after pitching three innings and allowing two runs on five hits with five strikeouts.

Optimist managed just one hit in the game and it came in the first inning.

With one out, Jaylen Williams singled, stole a base and scored after two passed balls.

Optimist had a chance to score in the third inning after loading the bases with two outs thanks to a pair of walks and hit batter. But a groundout ended the inning.

Optimist left seven runners on base.

PBNB’s Jared Carter is credited with the win after pitching 2 1/3 hitless innings. He allowed just one walk with two strikeouts.

Starter A.J. Alford pitched 2 2/3 and allowed one run (earned) on one hit with six walks and three strikeouts.

“A.J. hasn’t pitched very much this year,” Skillen said. “He pitched a little bit in high school ball, but I just wanted to see what he could do.

“I didn’t pitch my best pitchers against that team.”

Skillen said he is saving Jones for the championship game on Sunday, if they make it that far.

For Optimist, Williams finished 1 for 3 with a stolen base, a run scored and a walk. Blake Phillips had a pair of walks.

For PBNB, Jacob Andersen went 4 for 4 with a stolen base and three RBIs. Jones went 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored. Cody Andersen went 2 for 3 with two runs and a RBI.

John Reed was 2 for 2 with a run scored and Alford had a RBI and a run scored.

PBNB will play again today at 10 a.m. against the Sheridan Yankees.

Southwest Arkansas 10,

PBNB 3 (Thurs.)

Zack Ware was named player of the game as he pitched six innings and Southwest Arkansas defeated PBNB on the first day of Jim Hill Wood Bat Classic at Seabrook.

Ware struck out nine and allowed just five hits. He was also 0 for 1 with three walks.

Pulpwood 4,

Pine Bluff Tigers 0 (Thurs.)

Pulpwood of Camden scored three runs in the fifth and one in the fourth as they defeated the Pine Bluff Tigers in the last game of Thursday.

Brandon Watson did not allow a run and struck out eight.

Austin Booth was 1 for 2 with a stolen base, a run and a walk. Watson was also 1 for 2 with two runs and a walk.

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***This article has been updated from its original version to correct an incorrect name and league name.