Led by a complete game from Aaron McDonald, the Pine Bluff Tigers shut out the Southwest Arkansas (Prescott) Titans 2-0 at the 19-and-under Dixie Majors State Tournament held on Eddie Bryan Field at Seabrook Family Christian Center on Saturday.
The Tigers move on to face Camden in a winners’ bracket matchup at noon today.
McDonald finished the game with seven innings pitched, allowing just three hits with three walks and three strikeouts, while tossing 86 pitches.
“I felt good,” McDonald said. “My team was playing hard behind me and I always play hard for them because I know they will play hard for me.
“I’m just blessed to have wonderful teammates and wonderful coaches. That’s what motivates me to play hard.”
Unlike Friday’s game, the Tigers played a much better game defensively while only committing one error late in the game. Head coach Ernest Wooten said that was big factor in the win on Saturday.
“We always say you have to have great defense to work behind your pitching,” Wooten said. “Every time (McDonald) pitches, he always stays around the strike zone.
“Today we played real good defense.”
Pine Bluff, playing as the visitor, scored its only two runs in the second inning. Jordan O’Guinn started the inning hit by a pitch. Chris Williams forced a walk and Kirel Young followed up with a perfect bunt as he beat the throw out to load the bases with nobody out.
After a pop out, Tre Harris stepped up and hit a slow roller to pitcher Jordan Allred. Allred fired it to home to Ryan Oaks, who tried to complete a double play at first base, but the throw sailed over allowing Williams to score all the way from second base.
“We say we like to use our speed,” Wooten said. “If we bunt the ball, we’re going to run hard. If we hit the ball, we’re going to run hard. We try to use our speed to our advantage.”
With an extra out and runners at the corners, Ti’Montai Bolden made the Titans pay with a first-pitch RBI single to right field to score Young. Harris also tried to score on the play but was caught between third and home for the final out.
McDonald settled in after getting a lead and scattered just two hits the rest of the game, while not allowing a Southwest runner to reach third base the entire game.
Bolden led the Tigers at the plate finishing 1 for 2 with an RBI, while Adam Graham, J’Marlos Johnson and Young added the other hits. Southwest had three players finish 1 for 3.
Pine Bluff will now face a familiar foe in Camden and Wooten said his team is ready for the matchup.
“Those are a tough bunch of kids,” Wooten said about Camden. “They are the team that we lost to in the Wood Bat Tournament, so we are going to be up for the challenge, but we know it’s going to be tough.”
Seabrook 14, Nashville 4 (6 inn.)
Earlier Saturday, Seabrook Wingstop bounced back on Saturday to run-rule the Nashville Rangers in an elimination game.
Seabrook now awaits the winner between Pine Bluff and Camden and will be eliminated with a loss.
Seabrook continued its hot hitting and played much better defensively, committing just two errors. Wingstop jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in the first inning and added four more runs in the second inning. Nashville struck the scoreboard with three runs in the third inning, but Wingstop answered right back with three of their own in the fourth.
Clayton Bowers hit a two-RBI walk-off double in the bottom of the sixth inning as the sportsmanship rule came in effect.
Rayshun Blake led Wingstop with a 3-for-4 performance with two RBIs, while John Reed led the team with four RBIs. Nashville’s Hunter Landsdell hit the second home run of the tournament in the sixth inning and finished 1 for 3 with an RBI.
Jeffery Jones earned the win for Seabrook while allowing just four hits through five innings of work.
Southwest Arkansas 10, Seabrook 9 (Fri.)
The Titans outlasted Wingstop where both teams exploded on offense to combine for 19 runs, including 14 in the first three innings, in the late game on Friday.
Both teams had hot bats, but also helped one another as they combined for more than six errors.
Southwest scored six runs in the third inning, while Seabrook countered with eight runs in the bottom half of the third. Seabrook tried to mount a rally to tie the game as it found itself down 10-8 in the bottom of the seventh inning, but only managed to score one run while leaving the tying run aboard.
Southwest’s Alex Alsup went 3 for 4 with three runs scored and Seabrook’s Adrian Alford went 3 for 3 with two runs scored and three RBIs.
Seabrook’s Brandon Jones connected on the first home run of the tournament when he launched a two-run shot over the left field fence on his second at bat in the third inning.