No quit in Buffaloes

By Matt Hill

   JOHNSON CITY--The Milligan College baseball team won three rounds of elimination battles on Thursday. The Buffaloes will now go for the knockout punch today.
   The Buffaloes finished their successful day around midnight with a 9-3 victory over Bluefield in the losers bracket finals of the Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament.
   The Buffs will now take on Brevard today at 5:30 p.m. at Cardinal Park. Milligan must win two games to take the AAC Title.
   Milligan got to the losers bracket final with a 6-5 victory over top-seeded Tennessee Wesleyan, and by knocking off King 18-6.
   Milligan did have to battle to make it to the finals, and they actually had a physical fight against Bluefield. A bench-clearing brawl occurred in the bottom of the seventh inning, with several players being ejected.
   The battle had already been won before the fight.
   Just before the brawl, Milligan put the contest practically out of reach when Ryan Dunn drove in two runs on a single to give the Buffaloes an 8-3 advantage,
   Sophomore Adam Taylor had plenty of run support, but he did an admirable job in his own right.
   Taylor faced a bases loaded jam twice, and got out of it unharmed both times.
   Pat Gould completed an impressive day for Milligan with a two-hit effort.
   Milligan 18
   King 6
   In Milligan's second outing of the day, the Buffs exploded for 23 hits and belted five home runs to end King College's stay in the AAC Tournament.
   Milligan held a slim 3-2 edge going into the top of the fourth, but a six-run frame started what was a Milligan onslaught.
   The big hit of the inning that propelled Milligan to the easy win was a grand slam by Ben Whittemore that made a 4-2 game into an 8-2 slaughter.
   Whittemore had a contest to remember, as he went 5-for-6 on the day. A fly out in the eighth inning prevented the former Elizabethton High Standout from getting a hit in all six at bats,
   Dustin Price, Scott Shealy, Pat Gould and Nathan Chandler all belted shots out of the park for the Buffaloes.
   Milligan led by as many as 15 runs in the contest.
   With the Buffaloes thin on pitching due to all the games being played in the tournament, it was a very admirable performance for Jacob McCallister. McAllister pretty much kept the Tornado in check most of the day to get the win.
   McAllister definitely had plenty of help from his teammates. Everybody that started had at least one hit.
   The game may have meant the end of a fine career for a former Unaka High School standout. King pitcher Jon Minton saw time in the contest on Thursday with his former high school coach, Mike Ensor, on hand to support him.
   Milligan 6
   Tennessee Wesleyan 5
   In the first game of the day at Cardinal Park, the Buffs used some late-inning heroics to knock the top-seeded Bulldogs.
   With two men out and runners on first and second in the top of the eighth, a Jason Torres double knocked in Pat Gould to score what proved to be the go-ahead run for Milligan.
   From there it was up to Chad Davis, who allowed hits in the eighth and ninth innings, but managed to get out of the jams without harm.
   Milligan led 5-4 going into the bottom of the seventh, but after Chris Burnsed scored on a Chris Shockley wild pitch, Wesleyan had tied the game at 5-5.
   Wesleyan eventually loaded the bases, but Davis came in and produced a big strikeout of John Davis to come up with what might have been the biggest play of the game.
   Another big moment for Milligan was a three-run homer Dustin Price that put the Buffs ahead 5-3 in the top of the fifth.
   It was a huge game for Scott Shealy. Shealy finished with three hits, including a solo homer in the top of the third.
   Chad Davis earned the win, while Matt Noorfleet received the loss in defeat for the Bulldogs.