Braves click in opener


In the first few games of the high school baseball season, the pitching is typically far ahead of the hitting.

However, in Brownstown Central’s season opener, both facets of the game clicked.

The Braves pounded out 13 hits while limiting South Decatur to just two in a 14-4 six-inning victory Thursday at Brownstown.

Braves coach John Lawson said that while there were plenty of pluses, you could tell it was the first game of the season.

Trailing 4-3, the Braves (1-0) scored eight runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to pull away from the Cougars before winning by run rule.

“It was kind of your typical first game,” Lawson said. “It was kind of stale. We’ve had some good practices and dealt with the weather a little like everyone else, but it’s nice to get out and play.”

In the first inning, despite going hitless, the Cougars scored on an error in the Braves’ left field.

The Braves responded in the bottom, as Carson Lambring led off with a double before Ty Maxie hit an RBI single. Maxie would go on to score on an error on the Cougars’ first baseman, after Kyle Kramer put the ball in play, as the Braves led 2-1.

Following a double from Nick Marling, Cameron Luedeman singled for the Braves in the second inning. The Cougars committed an error as Marling charged third base on the play, and he was able to bring the run home to put the Braves up 3-1.

Following a scoreless third inning, Kramer took the mound for the Braves’ Sy Zickler.

In Zickler’s three outings, the senior produced seven strikeouts while giving up one hit and a walk.

Neither team scored in the fourth inning, but the Cougars would retake the lead in the fifth.

Two on base, with two outs, the Cougars’ Hunter Seegers blasted a three-run homer over the right-field fence to put the visitors back on top at 4-3.

That lead didn’t last long.

RBI hits from Zickler and Ian Martin put the Braves up 5-4 prior to the bases getting loaded on walks.

Seth Borden hit an RBI before Carson Lambring was hit by a pitch to bring in another score.

Maxie then blasted a hit at the pitcher, scoring two more Braves. Kramer finished the scoring streak with a two RBI single to give the Braves a 11-4 lead after five innings.

Maxie replaced Kramer on the mound and didn’t give up a hit in the sixth inning.

Brownstown loaded the bases and scored on a hit by pitch, error and sacrifice RBI from Maxie to close the game.

Nine different players recorded hits for the Braves, with Maxie, Martin and Marling each tallying two.

Lawson said he saw some good and bad with the at-bats and that the team needs to work on situational hitting.

“Right now, we’re trying to get guys more comfortable with their swings,” he said. “We had some good swings tonight, but many of them were out in front.”

Lawson said he was pleased with the pitching.

“Our goal coming in was to throw at least three guys,” he said. “We got some work in. One of the guys hadn’t played in a long time, so we wanted to see what he had to offer.

“We need pitchers. Pitching staffs need to be deep. We’ve been working on that and developing some guys. We need them come conference games.”

Brownstown, the reigning sectional champions, played a handful of new players. Many returning players also shifted to new positions.

“You will see a lot of different lineups out of us this year: I guarantee that,” Lawson said. “The whole pitch count rule and number of guys we have, we will find the right ones eventually. We’re kind of in an experimental situation right now, but we’re happy with it.

“We have a little ways to go, but I think with the guys we have we’re going to progress well as the year goes on.”