The District 2-3A champion Brownwood Lions stretched their win streak to 11 games, knocked off the defending Class 3A state champions for the second time and completed an unblemished run through their league schedule with an 8-2 victory over the Snyder Tigers Friday at Morris Southall Field.
“We appreciate all the fans coming out tonight and supporting us,” said Lions head coach Scotty Nichols, whose team is ranked No. 25 by 3Abaseball.com. “It’s been a good year for us, but we still have a long way to go.”
Seniors Shelby Miller, Tanner Vaughn and Parker Taylor were honored prior to their final home game, as all three have played integral roles in the Lions’ three straight postseason appearances.
For the third straight game at Morris Southall Field, Miller took the mound and hurled a three-hitter with 14 strikeouts, but allowed an uncharacteristic seven walks.
“Shelby was pumped up a little bit and he gave up a few walks, but most of those were with two outs and not at crucial times,” Nichols said. “It wasn’t his sharpest outing, but he did another great job for us all night long.”
Offensively, the Lions (13-9, 10-0) finished with nine hits against Snyder (14-13, 6-4) pitcher Clint Wall, led by two and an RBI each from Vaughn, Patrick Espinoza and Cameron Chisholm. Levi Perez added a hit and a pair of RBIs, Graylon Brown drove in a run with a hit and Josh Fleming singled and scored twice.
“(Wall) surprisingly enough had a good fastball and the guys had to finally adjust to the fastball,” said Nichols. “He’d drop down sidearm and change the view and toward the end he was bringing it pretty hard. It was a battle all night.”
After a scoreless first inning, the Lions grabbed control by scoring four runs in the second.
Fleming led off with a walk, then with two outs Chisholm was hit by a pitch. Vaughn followed with an RBI single to left field, Perez ripped a two-RBI double to left-center field and Espinoza tripled in a a run over the head of the Snyder center fielder.
Brownwood increased its lead to 7-0 in the third as Fleming singled and scored when Vance McShan reached on an error; Chisholm singled home Brown, who walked; and McShan scored on a wild pitch during Perez’s at-bat.
Brown drove home Tyler Kemp — courtesy-running for Miller, who was hit by a pitch — with a two-out single in the sixth for the final run.
Snyder’s two runs scored in the fourth as Brandon Ramirez and Hunter Cox drew two-out walks, then a single up the middle by Anthony Taylor, coupled with an error in the outfield, allowed both Tigers to score.
The Lions will not begin postseason action until the weekend of May 15-16, but Nichols has lined up four games for Brownwood.
The Lions will visit Robinson, ranked No. 6 in Class 3A, at 7 p.m. Friday, then host Robinson at noon Saturday. On Thursday, May 7, the Lions will welcome Class 2A Grape Creek for a 4:30 p.m. doubleheader.