Biloxi scored two sixth inning runs to escape Warren Central 2-0 on Saturday at MGM Park on the closing day of the Battle at the Beach baseball tournament.
The Indians (11-4) played six games in the tournament, going 5-1.
“It’s been a long week,” Indians coach Eddie Lofton said. “We went through a lot of pitchers this week and we’ve learned a lot about our team.”
The problem for the Vikings (7-6) and Indians wasn’t pitching. It was finding holes in each other’s defense.
Even with Trey Shaffer limiting Warren Central to just five baserunners, the Indians had trouble figuring out Hank Holdiness and the Vikings outfield.
Through the first five innings, Biloxi managed just two hits off Holdiness — singles by Nick Skaggs and Gavin Schmidt — and two walks. Vikings catcher Sean Daily also threw out two Indians attempting to swipe second and a third Biloxi runner was called out after failing to retag second following a long flyball out.
“Holdiness did a really good job of keeping us off balance,” Lofton said. “I thought we hit the ball hard — we had six line-drive outs to the outfield — but their fielders did a really good job of running the ball down.”
In the sixth, though, Biloxi was able to steal a run.
Jiles Bradfield came off the bench to draw a pinch-hit walk. Brodie King sacrificed Bradford to second. Holdiness sent a pitch high over Daily’s glove, sending Bradford to third.
Biloxi leadoff hitter Tucker Thomas worked the count full. Holdiness bounced ball four into the dirt, sending Tucker to first and scoring Bradford who just beat Daily’s throw to Holdiness. Thomas would steal second and score in front of Gabe Garza’s flare single to center.
Steven Vanderlei pitched the seventh to pick up the save. Matthew Newcomb started the inning with a chopper headed to left. However, Biloxi third baseman Jarius Collet cut the grounder off and threw Newcomb out. Vanderlei struck out the last two batters.
Shaffer had a rough first inning for Biloxi, giving up back-to-back singles by D.J. Lewis and Landan Stewart. A double play moved Lewis to third but Shaffer left him there, getting the third out by strikes.
“We play pretty good defense,” Lofton said. “The double play really helped us out.”
Warren Central would also threaten in the sixth when Vantrel Reed doubled with two outs and went to third on a wild pitch. Shaffer got out of the inning with a grounder to short. He picked up the win, striking out eight over six innings.
“He’s really good at keeping his composure,” Lofton said. “We always feel we have a chance with him pitching.”