BROWNSTOWN — The Brownstown Central softball team knew they’d be in for a fight against Hauser in Wednesday’s sectional semifinal.
Hauser was a semistate finalist one season ago, and the Jets showed why as they defeated the Braves 12-6 to advance to the sectional championship.
If you told head coach Darren Bryant his team would score six runs against the Jets, he thought the Braves would’ve won, but it was the seven defensive errors that hurt Brownstown.
“We could’ve had a 4-0 lead but those errors hurt us for their first four runs,” Bryant said. “I said if we played good defense we’d win the game. Our defense let us down. We had a game against Floyd Central that we made four errors, and tonight we made seven. A majority of our games we’ve made two or less.”
Brownstown jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but then Hauser responded with one run in the second and three runs in the third to take a 4-2 lead.
But the Braves would even things back up in the bottom of the third by adding two runs of their own off RBI from Kyndle Huddleston and Emily Dillman.
Hauser broke the 4-4 tie in the fourth inning when Hannah Taylor hit a 2-run home run, and the Jets would add one more run in the fourth to take a 7-4 lead.
Hauser scored two more runs in the fifth, and Brownstown got those two runs right back but still trailed 9-6.
The Jets added three more insurance runs — one in the sixth and two in the seventh — to complete the scoring for the game.
Hauser had 16 hits to Brownstown’s nine in the game.
Olivia Justice had two hits and three RBI to lead the Braves, Kyndle Huddleston had one hit and one RBI, Emily Dillman had two hits, Kelsey Schneider had one hit, Adelynn Anderson had one hit and Rylin Huddleston had one RBI.
Schneider pitched the first three innings for BC and had two strikeouts, Rylin Huddleston pitched 0.1 innings and Rylee May pitched 3.2 innings and had two strikeouts.
The Braves finished the season 17-10, second in the Mid-Southern Conference, and Bryant was pleased with how his second year at the helm went.
“We said one of our goals was to not lose to a school that was our size or smaller, and we didn’t do that until tonight,” Bryant said. “We were competitive all year. This last game was not indicative of our season as a whole.”
Rylin Huddleston was the lone senior on the Braves’ roster, and she will continue her softball career at Hanover College.
“She’s been great,” Bryant said. “She’s had up and downs pitching wise, but most of the times she’s been really consistent. She didn’t bat early in the year, and later in the year we put her into hit, and she did a good job at the plate as well. She’s always in a good mood and has a smile on her face, and we’ll miss her.”
With just one senior graduating, the Braves will be bringing back a lot of talent, including a big junior class and a talented freshmen class that Bryant said didn’t lose a game in middle school.
“With what we’ve got coming in, we should have our numbers back around 20, which should help us play JV and varsity again,” Bryant said. “With what we’ve got coming back, we ‘ought to feel good about our chances next year (at winning sectionals).”
Milan beat South Ripley 12-1 in the first game on Wednesday, so Hauser and Milan will play for the sectional championship later tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Brownstown Elementary School.