Brownstown Central’s quest for the 2019 Mid-Southern Conference baseball title has started without a hiccup.
The Braves (5-1, 1-0 MSC) took an early 4-0 lead en route to a 6-3 MSC-opening victory over North Harrison Monday at BCHS.
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After a scoreless first inning, the Braves pushed four runs across home plate in the second.
Braves left-handed starting pitcher Matthew Bell reached first base on an error by the Cougars before a sacrifice bunt by Clay Chastain helped him to second. With the next at-bat, Clayton Barger bunted into a fielder’s choice, and Bell was able to score to put the Brave up 1-0.
Lucas Hines followed Barger with an RBI double to center field before Seth Borden brought him home with a double. Borden reached third on another Cougars error before Issac Horton hit an RBI single.
In the bottom of the fourth, Jalen Tiemeyer singled to score Borden, bolstering the Braves’ lead to 5-0.
The Cougars answered in the fifth inning with a solo home run to right field by Colin Higdon, but the Braves answered soon after.
In the bottom of the fifth, Bell led with a double before making it to third base on another bunt by Chastain. Barger then came up with another big bunt for the Braves with the next at-bat, as he scored Bell before reaching first base on an error.
“We work on bunting every day,” Braves coach Brandon Tormoehlen said. “Our one through nine can bunt. We talk a lot about trying to be multi-dimensional on offense. Today, it seemed to work.”
Bell was replaced by Borden on the mound in the sixth inning, with the Braves up 6-1.
Borden walked the Cougars’ first two batters before an RBI single by Evan Lasey cut the deficit to four runs. With one out, Higdon grounded out for an RBI to make it 6-3.
In the seventh, the Braves only saw one Cougars runner make it to the bases. Eli Brown tossed a pair of strikeouts to ensure the Braves’ win.
“(North Harrison) has tough kids. They hang in and battle,” Tormoehlen said. “I think this game had a lot of momentum swings. We had the momentum the first few innings, but it seemed like in the fourth, fifth and sixth, it was on their side. We didn’t help ourselves in the sixth. We threw too many balls up by five runs. Eli came in and shut the door. We need to clean some stuff up defensively.”
The Braves totaled 11 hits in the game while giving up six. Isaiah Wineinger, Borden, Horton and Tiemeyer each totaled two.
The home squad had two errors to the visitors’ three.
Bell finished with five strikeouts, five hits, one walk and one earned run on the mound for the win. Justin Deatrick, who pitched 3.1 innings, was the losing pitcher.
Last spring, the Cougars beat the Braves both in the regular season and the sectional semifinals.
Brownstown Central will host Jackson County foe Seymour tonight. Last week, the Braves beat the Owls 9-3 at SHS.
“They’re going to be ready coming to play,” Tormoehlen said. “Coach (Jeremy) Richey does a fantastic job at Seymour. He will have them ready to play.”
The Braves will be back in MSC action on Thursday, as they travel to Eastern (Pekin).