SWEETWATER — The Brownwood Lions continued their winning ways Wednesday, earning their seventh consecutive victory and 11th win in 12 games by capturing a 9-2 decision over the Sweetwater Mustangs.
The game, originally slated for Tuesday night, was shifted to Wednesday due to a malfunction with the lights in Sweetwater.
With the win, the Lions (14-6, 2-0) moved into a tie for first place with Snyder (16-5, 2-0), which will host Sweetwater (10-11, 0-2) Friday. Brownwood will be back home Friday, welcoming Abilene Wylie (11-9, 2-1) at 7 p.m.
“We’ve only got one day of practice, then we’ll be back home against Wylie,” said Lions head coach Jeremy Smith. “Our last meeting with them left a bad taste in our mouth because they beat us out of the playoffs last year. We’re ready to get after it and we’re excited about the opportunity.”
In the win over Sweetwater, the Lions overcame 12 strikeouts by Mustang pitcher Kris Mayes by collecting 10 hits, drawing three walks and capitalizing on four errors. The Lions relied on small ball to force Sweetwater into most of its miscues.
“We preach small ball all the time and work on it every single day in practice,” Smith said. “When we’re struggling offensively it’s a way to get guys in motion and get our offense going, and it was good to see that pay off for us.”
Vance McShan led the Lions offense with three hits, two RBI and three runs scored, while Tyler Edwards finished with two hits, a pair of RBI and he crossed the plate once. Levi Perez and Mitch Stephens both added one hit and one RBI apiece, while Dillon Ellis, Graham Mask and Graylon Brown each recorded a hit and scored a run.
“Sometimes it’s not as easy as other days at the plate, but you have to tip your hat their pitcher. He did a good job keeping us off balance,” Smith said. “But Vance and Tyler came up with a couple of clutch base hits.”
On the mound, James Crow tossed six innings of five-hit ball, allowing one run with eight strikeouts and just one walk. McShan worked the seventh inning and surrendered one run on one hit with a pair of strikeouts.
“It starts and ends on the mound and we got a great effort out of Crow with six strong innings and limiting them to one run,” Smith said.
Brownwood jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first as Ellis reached on an error then scored on McShan’s RBI single to center field. Edwards added a two-out RBI double to right-center field that scored McShan.
Sweetwater cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the first as Tanner Crain doubled and scored following a Ryan Linebaugh infield single.
The Lions got that run back in the top of the second as Mask walked with two outs and came home to score on an RBI single by Perez, which followed a single by Ellis and pushed the advantage to 3-1.
Brownwood’s lead grew to 7-1 in the top of the fifth thanks to a four-run outburst. Perez began the inning with a walk and McShan then singled. Brown’s grounder resulted in a three-base error that allowed two runs to score for a 5-1 Lions’ advantage. Edwards then singled home Brown, while Stephens came through with a two-out RBI double down the third base line that plated Edwards.
The Lions added their final two runs in the sixth inning as Perez reached on a one-out error, then scored on McShan’s RBI single. McShan later scored when Crow reached on a two-out Sweetwater fielding error.