Thursday, April 27, 2006
Indians eliminated in round one
By CLAUDE VINSON
The H.W. Byers Lions, who made history last season under head coach Eddie Dixon, reprised their role last week by returning to the Class 2A baseball playoffs for a second time under the Mississippi High School Activities Association’s new system.
The first-round tournamant was staged at the home diamond of the Urchins of East Union and began on Thursday. The Lions drew the Eagles of West Bolivar as their first opponent and the Eagles took the field first.
Nick Tate was the lead batter for Byers and he started with a double. The next man in order popped to center and the side was later retired with a throw to first.
The Lions’ hurler, Brandon Starnes, didn’t allow any Eagle to reach first base. Starnes would go the distance and record a two-hit shutout.
The game was still scoreless in the second when Starnes stroked a single and moved a man to second. The Eagles’ thrower balked and moved the man another base. The Lion runner tried to steal home on a passed ball but was tagged.
The Eagles finally got a hit and had placed another runner on with a walk. But follow-on batters couldn’t hit Starnes, and they were left with two men on.
Byers collected two more singles on hits by Tate and Tristan Kizer. Tate, who had made it to third, stole home on an error and scored the Lions first run, he was followed by Kizer. Gerard Marion bounced one of of the bottom of the right field fence. He drove in another run and with a full head of steam rounded the bases, almost catching runner number four. When the dust had settled the Lions were ahead 5-0.
The Lions kept the Eagles out of the scoring column for the rest of the way. They added another pair of runs in the top of the sixth. David Glass was the last man in, scoring on an error by the Eagles’ third bagger. The final score was 7-0.
Starnes, who went all the way for the Lions, registered two walks and struck out 11. The Lions got eight hits off of the West Bolivar pitcher.
The Lions had to face East Union on Friday at high noon. The Urchins were 12-0 in the district and had defeated the team from West Tallahatchie 25-0 in their first game.
The Lions fell to the Urchins by a score of 11-4. This set up a doubleheader for Byers as they had to face West Bolivar again that same day (Friday ) at 6 p.m.
The Lions ralled behind Tristan Kizer to wallop the Eagles 15-2, with the game being called via the mercy rule after five. The Lions collected a dozen hits off of the Eagles’ pitcher.
Gerard Marion blasted a two- run homer over the left wall with two outs. In the next inning, Kizer caught a change-up with two outs and one on, and rode it over the left wall for runs 10 and 11.
The Eagles scored twice in the bottom of the third on Lions’ errors. But that would be the extent of their threat.
With the win the Lions earned another meeting with the Urchins on Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Urchins, who have been selected by many to win the state crown this year, finished their regular season with a record of 23-4.
The momentum built for the Urchins in the top of the first. They faced Lion ace Brandon Starnes and aided by some uncharacteristic infield errors by the Lions, were off to a nine-run lead off of four hits.
H.W. Byers collected no hits, and only three batters faced mound man Chase Porch. Two were shut down at the plate and one was chopped before reaching first.
This set the tone of performance for the Lions. They had trouble hitting Porch and made nine errors over the course of the game.
Head coach Eddie Dixon stated, “Our infield hasn’t made this many errors all season.
“We just don’t seem to be relaxed.”
The woes continued for Byers. The Urchins registered 12 hits and scored 16 times.
The Lions’ lone score came in the top of the fifth when Devin Moore hit a double. He was driven in by Terrance Hale.
Coach Dixon said the Lions gained valuable experience during this season.
“We are losing one senior,” he said. “Hopefully, everyone will be back next season and ready to advance.”
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