Ailing Barber sharp in six innings for Oxford

baseball_icon_greenBy David Wheeler

Special to the Journal

OXFORD – Oxford Chargers sophomore pitcher Jason Barber was a bit under the weather on Wednesday.

It didn’t matter much.

Barber hurled six innings, striking out 10 Louisville Wildcats along the way, helping the Chargers to an 8-0 victory in action in the Oxford Spring Break Tournament.

The game went only six innings because of tournament time-limit.

“I don’t think he was throwing as hard as he could today, but he threw real well,” said Oxford head coach and Amory native Chris Baughman. “I know he wasn’t feeling well, so he just pitched.

“That’s what makes him so special.”

Swing and miss

Not only was Louisville (5-3) swinging and missing, the Wildcats managed only one hit off Barber.

Oxford (8-1) hitters had a bit more success swinging, chalking up six hits.

The Chargers pushed across their first run in the bottom of the first. Barber was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score a run.

Oxford broke the game open in the fourth, scoring five times. Chadwick Lamar and Matthew Guyton had RBI hits in the frame, as the Chargers opened up a 6-0 lead.

“We saw some really good pitching by Oxford, and we didn’t match it,” said Louisville head coach Charlie Smith, an Aberdeen native and former coach at Aberdeen and Hatley. “We didn’t make enough plays on defense, and I really thought it should have been 1-0 going into the sixth inning.”

Oxford padded its margin in the fifth inning, scoring runs on an error and a ground out.

“It was almost like when we got up two or three runs, the air went out of Louisville’s sails,” Baughman said. “This was as good as Barber has pitched all year.”

Louisville, in Division 2-3A with teams like Nettleton and South Pontotoc, was missing two starters.

Oxford, in Division 2-5A with defending Class 5A champion New Hope, and with Saltillo and West Point, will not open league play until March 25. Barber was 7-3 with a save for the Chargers as a freshman last season.