‘Cats earn split, 1-0 in ClassicPublished 12:47pm Tuesday, March 26, 2013
By Ed Bailey
Behind a complete game from Bryant Horn, the Benjamin Russell Wildcats got off the snide and won their 2013 Lake Martin Classic opener over the Clay-Central Volunteers 7-1.
This was the second game of a double-header for BRHS, who lost earlier Monday to the Westbrook Warriors in a game that did not count toward Lake Martin Classic pool play.
BRHS 7, Clay-Central 1(Lake Martin Classic)
Bryant Horn pitched the entire game, striking out 10 and allowing only one run on five hits.
BRHS, who had struggled to score as of late, got their offense started early thanks to a RBI single from Marquis Odem.
The Wildcats exploded in the bottom of the third, when Caleb Brooks, Zac Rogers, Austin Moncus, and Blake McClellan all scored runners.
The Wildcats added two more runs in the later stages of the game.
“We had good starting performances today,” BRHS head baseball coach Richy Brooks said. “We’re pitching the ball okay but we were in a funk hitting. Baseball is a game of streaks, and we have to keep working at it. Maybe this was the start of us turning it around offensively. It’s a work in progress. We got away from what we were doing and we need to get back to it.”
BRHS 2, Westbrook 3
Despite a 2-0 lead heading into the sixth inning, Benjamin Russell was unable to hold off the Westbrook Warriors, falling 3-2 in nine innings.
Caleb Brooks got the start for the Wildcats, going six strong and allowing no runs on four hits.
He also struck out three batters and earned a no-decision.
The game was a pitcher’s duel for the most part, as neither team could put up any runs for much of the contest.
For the Warriors, those who found their way on base were limited from doing any damage early on.
The Wildcats put out three of Westbrook’s first seven base runners via the pick-off throw or catching the runner as they tried to steal bases.
The Wildcats offense seemed to finally solve Westbrook’s pitching in the bottom of the fifth inning, when a single from Blake McClellan kicked off a two-run inning for the Wildcats.
Craig Crouch laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance McClellan, and McClellan took third base after a passed ball.
Carter Loyd delivered a single that scored McClellan and Sean Rape plated Loyd with a double.
That would be all the production that BRHS could muster. With Austin Moncus on to close it out, Westbrook scored a run in the sixth inning and another in the seventh to knot things up.
McClellan, Moncus and Loyd all went down in order in the bottom of the seventh, forcing extra innings.
Nathan Mitchell entered the game in the eighth and struck out three of the four batters he faced.
The other reached on a walk.
Rape, Bryant Horn and Zac Rogers each had singles in the bottom of the eighth, but they couldn’t convert them into runs as the ‘Cats left two runners stranded. For the game, BRHS stranded eight runners.
Westbrook got a leadoff double in the top of the ninth and later scored the runner to take the lead.
BRHS answered with a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth, but the Warriors’ pitching retired the next three BRHS batters to end the game.
Rape was 4-for-4 in the game with two doubles and the aforementioned RBI. Loyd, in addition to his RBI, was 2-for-3.
BRHS continues play in the Lake Martin Classic versus Eufaula today at 4:45 p.m. at the Charles E. Bailey Sportplex.