BIG SPRING — The Brownwood Lions notched their 10th victory in the last 11 outings, opening District 5-4A baseball action with an 11-5 road triumph over the Big Spring Steers Friday night.
Leading 5-3 through five innings, the Lions (13-5, 1-0) surrendered single runs in the bottom of the sixth and seventh frames — including a game-tying solo home run by Elijah Munoz one out away from victory — as Big Spring (12-9, 0-2) rallied to force an extra inning.
But the eighth inning was dominated by the Lions.
Brownwood's Carlos Benites was plunked by a pitch to start the top of the eighth then Grayson Swanzy bunted and reached on an error. An infield single by Caleb Hernandez loaded the bases with no outs. Reece Rodgers then delivered the game-winning hit, a two-RBI single to center field that brought home Benites and Swanzy.
The Lions padded their lead as the eighth inning progressed, as Cain Kittrell walked ahead of a two-RBI single to left field by Hayden Donahoo, which drove home Hernandez and Rodgers. Leading 9-5, an RBI sacrifice fly by Hunter Leonard plated Kittrell, then Rylan Reagan reached on a two-out error as Donahoo scored the final run.
Brownwood grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning on a towering one-out solo home run to left field by Reagan.
Big Spring knotted the score in the bottom of the third as Noah Gonzales' one-out RBI single brought home Kobe Gutierrez, who started the inning with a base hit.
The Lions reclaimed a 2-1 lead in the fourth as Hernandez reached on a two-out error that plated Reagan, who walked with one out.
The Steers then grabbed their only lead of the night, scoring twice in the bottom of the fourth for a 3-2 advantage. Brett Berringer doubled home Cade Wash, who started the frame with a single, then Brayden Sizenbach's RBI sac fly plated Berringer.
A three-spot in the top of the fifth quickly pushed the Lions back in front, 5-3. Kittrell drew a lead walk, then Gavon Clemons doubled with one out. Kittrell scored on a passed ball during the at-bat of Leonard, who walked, then Clemons came home on a wild pitch during Reagan's at-bat as Brownwood reclaimed a 4-3 edge. Later in the inning, Swanzy's RBI single plated Leonard.
Brownwood finished with eight hits — two each by Donahoo and Clemons and one apiece by Reagan, Swanzy, Hernandez and Rodgers — and drew six walks while taking advantage of four Big Spring errors. Rodgers and Donahoo collected two RBIs each while Leonard, Reagan and Swanzy each drove home one.
On the mound, Donahoo worked seven innings and yielded five runs on 10 hits with three strikeouts and two walks. Swanzy pitched the eighth and surrendered one hit with three strikeouts.
The Lions have back-to-back district home games next week as Snyder (8-11, 1-1) visits at 5 p.m. Tuesday, then two-time defending state champion and fourth-ranked Abilene Wylie (11-2, 1-0) comes to town at 7 p.m. Thursday.