Travis Hamby blasted an inside-the-park home run to start a four-run sixth inning as Calico Rock broke open a fairly competitive game and downed the Melbourne Bearkatz 13-6 April 23 to claim the 2AA-North District Tournament title at the Cougar Sports Complex in Brockwell.
Leading 9-6 going into the sixth, the Pirates plated four runs on two hits and a Bearkat error to put the game away.
The third seeded Pirates got to Bearkatz' starter Nick Davidson for three runs in the bottom of the first inning.
"It's important to score early in a game like this," said Pirate Head Coach Sam Linville. "With the starting pitchers on both teams being freshmen, if you can score early that just puts more pressure on the other guy."
After Davidson plunked a pair of Pirates, Anthony Cordova put Calico Rock on the board with a steal of home.
The next two Pirates crossed the plate on back-to-back walks with the bases loaded, giving Calico Rock a 3-0 lead.
An RBI-single from Brian Fountain in the home half of the second scored Cordova and put the fourth seeded Pirates on top 4-0 before Melbourne got their first runs of the game in the third.
"I was really glad we could keep them from scoring for an inning or two. That really helped us to a good start," Linville said.
A pair of walks from Pirate starter Tony Vredenberg set the table for Adam Hoskinds.
He responded with a two-RBI single that scored Shane Farmer and Cody Moser.
Hoskinds led the Bearkatz at the plate with four RBIs on three hits.
The Pirates tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the third off Bearkatz' reliever Levi Taylor.
Hamby started the frame with a double to right before coming home himself on an RBI-single from Cody Williams.
Williams later scored as Buck Brandon belted a base hit to left that gave Calico Rock a 6-2 advantage.
Melbourne didn't stay down long as they struck for four runs in the top of the fourth to knot the game at 6-all.
A pair of Pirate errors gave Melbourne two on and no out for Levi Taylor.
Taylor jacked a base hit to left that plated Andy Miller to get Melbourne rolling.
Moser posted the next Bearkat RBI before Hoskinds' big stick struck again with his second two-RBI hit of the contest to even things at 6-all.
The Pirates moved back in front for good in the home half of the fourth on three runs.
Scottie Sanders smoked a shot down the third base line that was good for an RBI before Williams drove a ball to center that plated a run, and Hamby came across to score on a Bearkat throwing error in an attempt to pick off Williams, boosting Calico Rock to a 9-6 lead.
"We took pretty good advantage of our RBI chances against Melbourne. Against ICC (in the first round) we left eight or nine guys stranded, but we didn't do that in this game."
Hamby's inside-the-parker gave the Pirates a momentum boost to close out the game.
"That was a really big hit. It helped us finish the game strong," Linville said.
The last three Pirate runs of the game came across on a Bearkat throwing error to put Calico Rock up 13-6.
Melbourne got a pair of runs back in the top of the seventh on an RBI-single from Davidson, and Taylor drove a ball to left that scored the last Bearkat run for a final of 13-8.
"We're playing our best ball of the year. We're hitting and pitching better than we were earlier," said Linville. "If we can cut down on our errors and improve our defense, I feel pretty good about where we're at."
In addition to his homer, Hamby also added a double and single for Calico Rock, while Brian Fountain added three hits, and Williams, along with Sanders had two hits apiece.
Levi Taylor posted two hits and two RBIs, and Nick Davidson had an RBI-double for Melbourne.