Fall Ball Classic

They had some fun during game one of Pizza Bowl 2012. The Reds had a little bit more fun, beating the Blues 4-3 in an extra-inning affair.

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They were only scheduled to play seven innings each day. This is, after all, a fun-filled but serious situation for the Rebels of the diamond as they wrap up fall ball.

Why Pizza Bowl? The winning team in this two of three fall classic series on Swayze Field gets to eat pizza and watch the losing team run a few laps. All in good college fun, of course.

Preston Overbey, one of the more athletic and versatile players on this Rebel team, sent a ball deep into left field that was caught but allowed senior Andrew Mistone to tag at third base and score, giving the Reds a win in the eighth.

Why the praise for the oldest of the two Overbey brothers on the squad? On any given day you might see the junior headed for the outfield to play, or first base like he did Wednesday, or to the mound to pitch a few innings, and maybe even catch a little. The coaches got him ready last season behind the plate in case they needed him last postseason when they lacked a little depth after Will Allen and Austin Knight.

Overbey stood at the plate Wednesday and awaited a pitch that might just end it, if he sent it long and deep, which he did.

"I wouldn't call it pressure," said Overbey, when quizzed about how he felt in that situation, even though it was just fun and games and still four months until first pitch of 2013. "As good friends as we are on this team, you still want to beat ‘em and have braggin' rights with some of your roommates and everything."

The competitiveness and closeness of game one was, according to Overbey, just what the team wanted and needed.

"That was the type game the coaches wanted to see and we all wanted to see. It turned out to be a great game," Overbey said.

"Coach" Brett Huber of the victorious Reds said everybody has winning on their minds.

"It was intense, wasn't it?" said Huber, a veteran of these fall-ending series.

Then Huber gave credit to a fellow pitcher, although on the other team. No doubt sophomore righty Chris Ellis has had one of the best falls of anyone on the team. He proved that again Wednesday with four innings of nothing-doing for the Reds - except three strikeouts.

Chris Ellis, shown here pitching last year, was the starter for the Blue team Wednesday
Bruce Newman

"Chris Ellis shut us down for four innings," Huber said of "Coach" Tanner Mathis' starter. "That's what he's been doing all fall. He looks great out there."

Ellis said he had good stuff on Wednesday.

"I felt good," he said. "Will (Allen) called a good game behind the plate. It's easy with him back there. We worked well together last year."

Ellis said he expects the Blue team to come back strong Thursday.

"We've got a lot of pitchers left. Everyone wants to win," he said.

The score was 2-1 Blue team heading to the bottom of the seventh. The Red team had to tie it to keep things going and did. Tyler Jackson, a freshman catcher, led off with a walk, but sophomore Jake Overbey struck out.

Freshman outfielder Cameron Dishon doubled to left to put runners at second and third. Mistone was up next and a fielder's choice allowed Jackson to get home to tie the game.

To determine a winner, each team was allowed to load the bases from the start of the eighth inning, then try to score runs. Sikes Orvis, a sophomore who played left field for the Blue team Wednesday, flew out to center field to score sophomore Will Jamison from third base. But that would be all the Blues would get in the eighth.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Red team scored a couple of runs to win the game. Auston Bousfield flew out to left to get Dishon in from third. Stuart Turner, a junior college transfer junior catcher, was hit by a pitch to load them again.

That's when Preston Overbey came up and sent one to deep left that scored Mistone for the win.

Leading hitters for each club were Jamison and Allen with two hits each for the Blues and Mistone with his two hits for the Reds.

Jamison, Dishon, and Knight each had doubles. Bousfield was credited with a stolen base.

Teams won't likely run successfully on the Rebels this season with Turner behind the plate. He delivers an accurate throw to any base basically every time and has had an impressive fall.

In addition to starter Ellis for the Blues, sophomore right-hander Scott Weathersby gave up just a run on five hits with two strikeouts in four innings for a successful outing.

Other pitchers used were Connor Jordan, Sam Smith, Hawtin Buchanan, and Brady Bramlett for the Blues, and Matt Denny, Casey Greene, and Jeremy Massie for the Reds.

That's just one win for the Reds, and Huber knows two straight losses could take away all the fun his team had on Wednesday.

Huber said both Ole Miss teams - the Red and the Blue - will be ready again Thursday for game two, which will begin under the lights at 6:30 p.m.

"The best thing about this is everybody in both dugouts is competing out there," Huber said.

And pizza awaits the victor.

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