LUFKIN, Texas – The Alvin Dolphins seemingly had the Blinn baseball team’s number all season.After winning the season series 7-1, the Dolphins looked to take another from the Buccaneers Sunday at the Region XIV Conference Tournament. But as Blinn coach Harvey McIntyre said before the tournament opener Saturday, “this thing is wide open.”
The Buccaneers defeated the Dolphins 6-3 here Sunday to continue their run through the winners’ bracket. Blinn will face the winner of Galveston and San Jacinto at 5 p.m. Monday.
“They had success against us this season, but that doesn’t matter now. What matters is what happens this weekend and we came away with a big win today,” McIntyre said. “Our guys are growing up right before our eyes.”
Down 3-1 in the top of the seventh, freshman catcher James Duval fired a shot to right field that scored Jager Toffan. After Reed Robinson scored on a fielder’s choice, sophomore Nolan Brown rocketed a double to center field that drove home Jose Reyes and Stephen Stuart to give the Bucs a 5-3 lead, their first of the game.
“Our guys hung in there after Alvin threw some haymakers in the early innings,” McIntyre said.
After going hitless in Saturday’s opener—a 7-2 Blinn win over Navarro—Brown responded with a 3-for-5 performance with two RBI. Stuart was 3-for-4 with two runs scored.
Once the Bucs took the lead, freshman lefty Seth Ballew made sure the Bucs kept it. Ballew tossed 3 1-3 innings of relief and retired the final nine Alvin batters to end the game.
“Seth pitched his best game of the year and it couldn’t have come at a better time,” McIntyre said.
Sophomore Shane McCarley tossed 5 2-3 strong innings, allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out three and walking two.
“When you’re able to overcome a barrier like we did today, it gives you a lot of confidence moving forward,” McIntyre said.
For more information on Blinn baseball, visit www.buccaneersports.com.