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Bogue Chitto, North Pike grab wins at Lawrence Co.

MONTICELLO – North Pike was the biggest winner in Day One of the 2016 Southwest Mississippi Spring Break Baseball Classic, played at Lawrence County’s Jimmie Davis Park. North Pike trounced Vicksburg 17-0 and squeezed by Franklin County 8-5 to get two wins on the day. Bogue Chitto broke a 10-10 tie with a four-spot in the fifth, beating South Pike 14-10. In the first two games of the day, Salem looked like a 1A contender in a 15-0 thrashing of South Pike, and Florence scored five late runs to grab a 5-1 win over Vicksburg.

Bogue Chitto and South Pike perhaps had the most entertaining game of the day. The Bobcats banged out a 9-2 lead after an inning and a half, only to see South Pike get five two-out, RBI hits in the bottom of the second to claw back into the game.

Tied at 10-10 after four innings, and with the tournament time limit out, Grant Leake and Tanner Gunther had fifth-inning RBI hits to propel Bogue Chitto to a 14-10 lead. Gunther and his defense then retired South Pike in order in the bottom of the fifth to give the Bobcats the win.

Gunther pitched the full five innings to get the win. After getting knocked around for 10 runs on 10 hits in the first three innings, Gunther retired the last seven South Pike batters to earn the victory.

Gunther, Leake, Brandon McKenzie, and Rudy Brumfield each had two hits to power Bogue Chitto. Connor Douglas, Tucker Lambert, and Trey Nettles each had one.

Keshun Nimox and Jesse Jordan each had two hits to lead South Pike. Nimox came in, in relief with none out in the first. He gave it a good fight, but was saddled with the loss.

North Pike dominated Vicksburg in the fourth of the day’s five games. The Jaguars ended the Gators’ hopes with 12 runs in the bottom of the first. Jacob Gill and Ben Coney each had two hits for North Pike. Dalton Reed and Conner Travis also hit safely. The Jaguars took advantage of lots of Vicksburg fielding miscues, plus a total of 12 walks or hit batsmen.

While the Jaguar offense was piling up the runs, North Pike starter Brantley Hughes was having an easy time of it, fashioning a four-inning no-hitter. He struck out seven in his four innings of work.

The final game of the night pitted North Pike against Franklin County, and it turned out to be a dandy. North Pike led handily for most of the night, but didn’t secure the win until center fielder Jacob Gill chased down Will Moffett’s bases-loaded, deep drive, ending the game.

North Pike took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, courtesy of two walks and a fly ball error. Franklin County responded with three in the top of the second, with Nate Verdin’s booming two-run double to center being the key blow.

The Jaguars seemingly took control of the game in the bottom of the second, exploding for six runs on six hits. Ben Coney’s two-run single and an RBI double by Matthew Phillips were the biggest blows of the frame. North Pike led 8-3.

Franklin County cut the margin to 8-4 with a run in the top of the fifth. Things really got interesting when the Bulldogs loaded the bases with two out in the top of the sixth, with the time limit having expired. A bases loaded walk to DeMantre Collins made it 8-5.

North Pike coach George Lott then called on side-armer Dalton Reed to face Moffett with the game on the line. With two strikes, Moffett launched a blast to deep left-center, but Gill’s running catch ended the drama.

North Pike got hits from Coney, Hughes, Phillips, Reed, Jonah Bankston, Conner Travis, Parker Phillips, and Tyler Alexander. Travis worked 4.3 innings to earn the win. Alexander relieved Travis in the fifth and recorded four outs. Reed retired the only batter he faced to earn a save.

Verdin led Franklin County with two hits. Also hitting safely were Collins, Moffett, Dalivan Hunt, Antonio Christmas, Chris Cantrell, and Chase Freeman. Cantrell pitched a gutsy five innings. After getting hit a bit in North Pike’s big second inning, Cantrell rebounded to shut the Jaguars down in the third, fourth, and fifth innings, allowing only one North Pike player to get as far as second base.

Four games are on tap for today, with host Lawrence County taking on Vicksburg at 12:15 in the opening game of the day.