After spotting the No. 9 Stephenville Yellow Jackets a 4-0 lead in their District 7-4A baseball opener Friday night, the Brownwood Lions stormed back for a 7-6 extra-inning victory — the most significant triumph yet in the 2019 campaign.
Knotted at 6 with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, Reece Rodgers' RBI single into left field plated pinch-hitter Rowdee Gregory, who was beaned to begin the frame then sacrificed to second base, with the winning run.
Gavon Clemons pitched six innings of relief for the Lions (8-8, 1-0), allowing two runs on three hits with 11 strikeouts and two walks to notch the victory. Mason Ryden got the start for Brownwood, as Stephenville (14-3, 1-1) struck for four runs on five hits — including a home run — with three walks and a pair of strikeouts.
The Lions finished with 10 hits — three by Cain Kittrell, who also collected four RBI out of the leadoff spot; and one apiece by Rodgers, Clemons, Hunter Leonard, Kris Hobbs, C.J. Hanley, Isyah Campos and Jakob Hataway.
Trailing 4-0 heading to the bottom of the third inning, Brownwood's rally began a with a three-spot during the frame. After consecutive singles from Campos and Hataway, Kittrell tripled to center field off Stephenville starter Derek Gifford, as the Lions quickly sliced the deficit in half, 4-2. With two down in the inning, Leonard's RBI double to center field plated Kittrell with the third run.
The Lions grabbed a 5-4 advantage in the bottom of the fourth as Grayson Swanzy walked and Hanley singled to begin the inning. Then, with two down, Kittrell's two-RBI single to left drove in Swanzy and Hanley with the tying and go-ahead runs.
Stephenville regained a 6-5 edge in the top of the fifth, but the Lions pulled even at 6 in the bottom of the inning. Hanley's RBI fielder's choice knocked in Clemons, who began the frame with a line drive single to center field.
The Lions will attempt to stretch their win streak to three games and remain atop the 7-4A standings when they venture to Mineral Wells (10-9, 0-2) at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Mineral Wells dropped a 6-5 decision to Godley (8-6, 1-1) Friday.