It took five innings and a 1-0 deficit, but the Pine Bluff Northern’s bats finally woke from their slumber as the team scored 15 runs on nine hits over the final two innings to defeat Arkansas Pulpwood of Camden 15-1 in the 15-year-old Babe Ruth state tournament at Taylor Field on Saturday.
“They were a little more chatty in the dugout after they got behind,” manager Randy Little said. “They just came together and I think put a complete game in the last three innings.”
In the bottom of the fourth, Camden took a 1-0 lead thanks to an RBI double by Cody Chelette to plate Dillon Vaughn. The lead would be short lived as Northern, whose team is sponsored by Brown Chiropractic, answered with eight runs in the top of the fifth to take a seven-run lead.
“You can’t look past anybody,” Little said. “They got the pre-game jitters out a little late.”
Gabriel Paul and Davion White were responsible for six of Northern’s runs in the fifth thanks to a two-run triple and a run scored by White and a two-run double and a run scored by Paul.
“I think they came out anxious,” Little said. “We hadn’t played in a while and you can only practice so much.
“I guess we were a little flat.”
White finished the game 1 for 2 with two walks, a triple, two runs and two RBIs. Paul had the only multiple hits for Northern, finishing 2 for 2 with a walk, two runs scored and two RBIs.
Northern scored seven runs in the top of the sixth as Camden used three different pitchers in the inning.
Northern will play White Hall today at 8 p.m. at Taylor Field.
“I wouldn’t say we were looking ahead,” Little said. “Because they didn’t know anything about (Camden.)
“I think they were a little nervous, playing in front of a ‘big crowd’ and I think that had a lot to do with it.”
Northern thought they had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the third after Cameron Robertson scored on a passed ball with two outs. But according to the home plate umpire, Robertson never touched home plate, so after Camden verified, he was called out.
Bernard Black of Watson Chapel earned the win on Saturday after pitching 1 2/3 innings of relief. He did not allow a hit and he struck out a batter. Black was pulled in the bottom of the seventh because Little wanted to conserve his innings.
“I actually thought he had already pitched three innings and I didn’t want to burn him,” Little said. “He will still have four innings (today) if we need him.”
Brandon Little earned a no-decision after last 3 1/3 on the mound. He allowed just one run (earned) on two hits with one walk and six strikeouts.
Janeson Milner allowed two runs on one hit with one strikeout and one walk in 4 1/3 innings for the loss.
Camden had just two hits in the game with a double by Mark Smith and Chelette’s RBI double.
Now in the loser’s bracket of the tournament, Camden will face the winner of Saturday’s game between Bryant and Hamburg.