The sky was slightly overcast, but the temperature was comfortably in the upper 60s at Colt Field, as the Bayou Academy Colts took on the Manchester Academy Mavericks in game two of a best of three series in the first round of the State AA Baseball Playoffs.
The Colts defeated the Mavericks 16-9 in game one in Yazoo City on Tuesday and were looking to complete the sweep. Bayou was able to do just that by bulldozing Manchester Academy 10-0. Bayou, 20-7, will play Glenbrook School in the second round next week in a best-of-three series. Manchester ended its season at 12-8.
Bayou dominated every facet of the game.
At the plate, the Colts stroked 10 hits with the lead off man reaching base in the first five innings. Every time the lead off man reached base, he was able to cross home plate. The Colts were able to score at least one run in every frame. Bayou had 19 total base runners with 52.6 percent of those runners crossing home with a run. For the series, 26 of Bayou’s 42 base runners scored, meaning 61.9 percent of all base runners put runs on the board.
Parker Caston went 3-for-4 with four RBIs to lead the Colts at the plate in Thursday’s finale.
“Our offense relies on getting base runners,” Bayou head coach Will Reed said. “When we got base runners, we can do things that allow us to open up holes and score runs.”
On the mound, senior Tyler Kitchings was on top of his game as he gave up just three hits with one walk, two hit batters and five strikeouts in a stellar six-inning complete game shutout. In five of the six innings he pitched, Kitchings was able to retire the leadoff man.
“I was feeling good, actually great,” Kitchings said. “After about the fourth or fifth inning, I got a little tired but I was able to push through, throw strikes and let the defense work.”
The defense for Kitchings came up big in the later innings. In the top of the fifth innings with Bayou leading 7-0, Kitchings hit two batters and gave up a hit to great a bases loaded situation with two outs for Manchester. Powell McCaleb was set up for the perfect hitting situation as he was ahead of Kitchings in the count 3-1. On the next pitch, McCaleb hit a fly ball to centerfield, which looked like it might fall for a hit but centerfielder Weber Herbison dove to the ground to make a spectacular catch and keep the shutout intact.
“I know if I pitch it and they hit, my outfield is going to go get it,” Kitchings said. “They got a little slogan they call ATC, air traffic control. Any ball popped up even the slightest in the air, they’re going to go get it for me.”
Even in the inning Manchester loaded the bases, Kitchings still retired the leadoff man for the first out. Four of the seven runners Manchester stranded were in scoring position.
“Kitchings didn’t really get himself into too much trouble,” Reed said. “He kept pouring strikes in, got ground balls and we played defense behind him. As a team, we did a good job of staying in good situations.”
On offense, Caston wasn’t the only one that produced for Bayou. Chantz Arbuckle roped two hits, drove in two runs, stole two bases and scored once to aid the Colts, followed by Trevor Runnels with a hit, a RBI and two runs, Alex Mangialardi and Davis Dalton with a hit, a RBI and a run each, Parker Hudson with a double and a run, Kitchings with a hit, Tanner Johnson and John Thomas Davis with two runs each and David Marlow and Cole Hutchinson with a run each.
Thursday was also senior day as seniors Hudson, Marlow, Arbuckle and Kitchings were honored before the game.