Brownwood moves back into second-place tie in 5-4A

The Brownwood Lions halted a two-game slump in District 5-4A baseball action and reached the halfway point tied for second place following Friday night’s 7-3 victory over the Sweetwater Mustangs at Morris Southall Field.

With the victory, the Lions (11-8, 2-2) joined Snyder (11-9, 2-2) two games back of No. 2 Abilene Wylie (20-1, 4-0) with four contests left.

The Lions scored in every inning but the sixth, and overcame a brief deficit after Sweetwater (7-15, 1-3) tallied three unearned runs in the top of the third inning to snatch a 3-2 lead.

“The bad inning has haunted us all year,” said Lions first-year head coach Blandon Hancock. “There’s always one inning, but if we can get through it, battle through it and get out of it without too much damage, we’re usually in good shape.”

Trailing 3-2 heading to the bottom of the third, the Lions immediately answered with two runs to reclaim a 4-3 edge.

Cain Kittrell led off with a single and Grant Fanara was hit by a pitch with two outs. Hunter Leonard next reached on an error, which allowed Kittell to score the tying run, while Hayden Donahoo’s RBI infield single drove home Fanara with the go-ahead run.

Brownwood tacked on two insurance runs in the fourth as Gavon Clemons, who was hit by a pitch, scored when Fanara reached on an error. Later, Leonard’s RBI single drove in Blaine Hughes, who was also plunked.

The Lions scored their seventh run in the fifth as Harley Price doubled and later crossed the plate following a dropped third strike during Clemons’ at-bat, and a wild throw that got away at first base.

“I talk to the kids every day and tell them we have to score at least one run every single inning,” Hancock said. “We struggled the last two games offensively against Snyder and Wylie, but we had two good days of just getting back to the basics and our philosophy on offense.”

The Lions took a 1-0 lead in the first as Kittrell singled and scored on an RBI sacrifice fly by Hughes. In the second inning, Rylan Reagan’s towering solo home run to left field increased the lead to 2-0.

On the mound, Donahoo chalked up the win, allowing just a trio of unearned in the third inning before giving way to Fanara to finish the contest.

“Every time that he pitches we always know we’re going to get his best,” Hancock said of Donahoo. “He’s one of the biggest competitors on our team, it’s all or nothing with him.”

The Lions start the second half of district at Big Spring at 7 p.m. Thursday.