The annual Billy Bock Classic began at Taylor Field on Thursday afternoon, and in the opening game, the Pine Bluff Zebras mercy-ruled the Star City Bulldogs in five innings by a score of 17-5.
Star City would score first after Sam Reed crushed a homerun to left field, giving the Bulldogs an early 1-0 lead in the first inning.
However, in the bottom of the first inning, the Zebras wasted no time to put runs on the board.
Leadoff batter Wes Hunt was walked and later stole second base for the Zebras. Chris Mack ripped a hit down the left field line for a double that would drive in Hunt to knot the game up at 1-1 for Pine Bluff.
Rod Stinson Jr. and Cameron Crane followed with a hit, including an RBI by Crane that drove in Mack to give the Zebras a 2-1 lead.
Pine Bluff continued to add runs in the first inning. Chris Blunt hit a hard line drive to right field that scored a run, and after a run scored on a wild pitch, David Carroll squeezed a sacrifice bunt that scored Chris Cobbs.
Hunt came up to bat for the second time in the first inning to hit a two-RBI double that scored Cason Blunt and Elisha Taylor for the Zebras. That made the seventh run of the inning for the Zebras, and they took a 7-1 lead heading into the second.
Star City added another run in the third inning after Reed hit a double and later scored on a wild pitch, but the Zebras capitalized in the same inning at the plate.
In the bottom of the third, Cason Blunt and Hunt reached base with a single while Carroll was walked to load the bases for Pine Bluff.
Mack came to the plate and hit a blooper to left field for his second hit and second RBI of the game that would keep the bases loaded for the Zebras.
With the next at-bat, Crane hit a ball near the fence to clear the bases for a three-RBI double, and Cobbs would later drive Crane in with a single to put the Zebras up 12-2.
The Bulldogs added three runs in the fourth inning with an RBI from Reed and a two-RBI single by Ty Welch to cut the deficit to 12-5.
In the same inning for Pine Bluff, Carroll reached base with a walk, and Brandon Thomas hit a double to advance Carroll to third.
Hunt drove in Carroll for a run, and Stinson drove in Thomas and Hunt to put the Zebras ahead 15-5 with two outs in the fourth inning.
Crane would drive in Stinson for another run and also scored on a wild pitch that put the Zebras ahead 17-5.
Stinson pitched five innings for the Zebras, allowing six hits while striking out six batters. Crane led the Zebras at the plate with three hits for five RBI’s. Hunt, Mack and Stinson all had two hits for two RBI’s a piece.
For Star City, Reed had three hits and two RBI’s while also pitching three innings and allowing nine hits while striking out four batters.