Pine Bluff National Bank could bank on an all-around performance by Jeffery Jones in Sunday’s 16-under championship of the Jim Hill Wood Bat Classic.
Jones held Southwest Arkansas to three hits and five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings on the mound and went 2 for 4 with a double and run scored as PBNB overcame a change of scenery and took a 6-4 win at Taylor Field.
The change came because of rain in the afternoon, delaying play at Seabrook Family Christian Center. The 17- to 19-year-old semifinal between the Pine Bluff Tigers and Wingstop was halted, and the 16-under final was moved to Taylor Field, allowing the older boys’ bracket to finish up.
PBNB didn’t seem at all to be slowed by the delay or the venue change, taking a 4-0 lead after four innings and riding Jones’ quality outing.
Jones was one of three PBNB players each with two hits. Cody Andersen and A.J. Alford had all singles — and they were timely.
“All we ask for is baserunners, so when we get baserunners on, they execute,” PBNB assistant coach Deion Smith said. “All we ask them to do is get the runners over and score.”
Nick Trail drove in a run on a fielder’s choice and Jones pushed across another with a single in the first inning to put the Pine Bluff Dixie Baseball team on the board. Andersen and Alford hit back-to-back singles in the second, as they did in the fifth inning, and that led to Colten Funderburg’s sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
PBNB gave Southwest Arkansas’ pitching staff fits the entire game. The first four SWA pitchers worked no more than 1 1/3 innings.
And it didn’t seem to be the visitors’ day when John Reed took advantage of two passed balls to score the fourth run for PBNB in the fourth.
But SWA made a game of it in the fifth, scoring three runs on one hit. An error at third base and passed ball helped keep the visitors in the game.
“We try to win every inning,” Smith said. “At least score one run an inning. One run an inning will win the ballgame.”
PBNB scored two runs in the fifth for insurance and didn’t have to score in the sixth.
The last two runs came off Andersen’s and Alford’s singles.
Cameron Robinson, who was 2 for 3 for SWA, hit a one-out RBI single in the sixth to close the scoring, but Trail retired the next five batters to close out the win.