When it comes to little league tournaments, the Boys Invitational Baseball (BIB) Tournament just might be king. It’s got history, and it’s something the community has embraced for years. In this 54th annual edition of the tournament, Chesterfield Baseball Club (CBC) would field two teams in the tournament, and it would be CBC American taking home the championship over the Colonial Heights Optimist team 3-1 in extra innings.
“It was edge of your seat the whole time,” said CBC American manager Melvin Gentry. “Whoever missed this game for two dollars, you [aren’t] going anywhere for two dollars seeing better baseball.”
The Colonial Heights Optimist Club sent their staff ace, 6’1 Noah Murdock, to the mound. CBC American countered with Ryan Traylor.
CBC American touched up Murdock early, jumping on his fastball. CBC’s Dylan Gentry led off with the single, and over the course of the next two batters, via wild pitches, Gentry found himself on third. To the plate was Stephen Baughan, and he delivered a timely hit to bring in Gentry to score. CBC American led 1-0.
Traylor, besides one walk issued to Murdock in the first, was a machine through the first two innings, striking out the side in the second. In the third, Colonial Heights showed some fight, as Chris Markins doubled and BIB hitting champion Bo Shelton singled and stole second, leaving two on with one out for Reed Raikes.
A Raikes grounder allowed Markins to score and tie the game at 1-1 on a tough play. As base runners tried to advance, there was a throwing error, but CBC third baseman J.T. Creed recovered to fire a strike home to catch Shelton trying to score, ending the inning.
Murdock would settle in for the Optimist Club, silencing the bats of CBC for the fourth and fifth. In the sixth inning, CBC would attempt to mount a rally, but Murdock struck out the side to end the inning.
With his team, Gentry discussed strategy heading into their half of the sixth. Baughan, who won two prior games in the tournament, was warm and ready to go in the game should a fatiguing Traylor falter.
Throughout the excitement, Baughan took the mound between innings and fired a warm-up pitch. Rules state if a pitcher throws a pitch from the mound, they must pitch to at least one batter.
“We didn’t intend for Stephen to pitch just yet,” said Gentry. “But I’d say it turned out pretty good.”
Pretty good, by definition: Baughan struck out the side in the sixth, forcing extra innings. After a strong seventh by both pitchers, and the rains threatening, the game carried on.
Even into the eighth, Murdock looked strong and quickly retired the first two batters. Murdock then walked the next two batters in Jones and Zach Newman, setting the table for Traylor. He wasted little time, and deposited Murdock’s first pitch into the gap in left center field, chasing home both runners and giving CBC the lead 3-1.
“I’ve been hitting pretty good lately,” said Traylor. “I hit in the yard before I got here tonight,” he continued. “It was a fastball, and coach told me to take it to the opposite field, so I did.”
Baughan secured the win in the eighth for CBC, striking out two more batters giving him seven for the game.
“Stephen has pitched a lot in close games,” said Gentry. “Sometimes he may walk batters, but he’s the type of guy that might walk a couple and then strike out the side.”
The entire CBC American team was awarded the BIB MVP trophy for their efforts, as three of their four games were decided by two runs or less.
In the third place game, CBC Nationals defeated the Dinwiddie Nationals 1-0, in a game that only saw four hits total. After strong pitching performances by Dinwiddie’s Brandon Webb and CBC’s Ryan Bergenhagen, the decisive blow would come in the fifth inning off the bat of second baseman Garrett Carson. An error and a walk got things going for CBC, and with runners on first and second, Carson hit a bouncer up the middle that plated Kevin Jones.
“I wanted to let the kids know that even playing in the BIB is an honor because of its history,” said CBC Nationals manager David Revels. “CBC is pleased to participate in the BIB in their 50th anniversary year.”
Along with the CBC World Series, the BIB provides area residents with a mid-summer classic of their own with great, hard-nosed baseball, family and friends. Stay tuned to the Village News for more local sports coverage at www.villagenewsonline.com .
PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT
.400 batting average
14 innings pitched
PLAYER OF THE GAME
1-3, game winning double
5 innings pitched