STEPHENVILLE — The Brownwood Lions pushed their win streak to six games, remained undefeated in District 7-4A and atop the league standings, and completed a season sweep of the rival Stephenville Yellow Jackets with a 6-4 road triumph Tuesday night.
Down a run early, the Lions (12-8, 5-0) grabbed the advantage with three runs in the top of the third inning and never trailed Stephenville (17-6, 3-3) again.
“I always commend the kids on the job they're doing buying into the process,” Lions head coach Blandon Hancock said in regard to the win streak. “Early in the season we had a lot of injuries, a lot of kids gone to different events, but that's high school baseball. We share kids and they compete for all of us, but they've stayed the course, stayed together, stayed humble and they continue to go out there and do what they need to do.”
C.J. Hanley, Mason Ryden and Gavon Clemons teamed up on the mound for the Lions to yield three earned runs on seven hits with five walks and one strikeout.
“We didn't play Friday so we had all our pitching available and I want to pitch everybody on somebody they hadn't seen,” Hancock said. “That would put Mason on Tuesday and Jakob Dorsett on Friday, but we're preparing ourselves for the postseason and trying to get kids some innings and experience. I thought C.J. did a heck of a job and should have got out of that first inning without giving up a run.”
Offensively, the Lions generated eight hits — two apiece from Kris Hobbs, who drove in a pair, and Hanley, who also knocked in a run, along with one hit each from A.J. McCarty, Grayson Swanzy, Jakob Hataway and Reece Rodgers, who also tallied two RBI.
Brownwood seized a 3-1 lead in the third as, with one out, Hanley and Hataway singled in succession and Cain Kittrell was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Rodgers then hit a ball to second base that wasn't handled cleanly, allowing Hanley and Hataway to score. Clemons followed with an RBI ground out that drove home Khyren Deal, running for Kittrell.
The Lions pushed their advantage to 4-2 in the fourth inning when Hobbs doubled with one out and Hanley immediately followed with a double of his own for an RBI.
Brownwood padded its cushion to 6-2 in the top of the fifth as, with two outs, Hunter Leonard was plunked, Swanzy reached on an infield hit, and McCarty singled to center field, which was followed by Hobbs' two-RBI single to right field.
Trailing by four runs, Stephenville cut Brownwood's lead in half in the bottom of the sixth with a pair of two-out runs — aided by three walks in the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, however, the Yellow Jackets were retired in order as Clemons wrapped up the victory on the mound.
The Lions are back in action at 7 p.m. Thursday when they welcome last-place Mineral Wells (10-14, 0-7), which fell to Godley (10-10, 3-4) by an 11-1 count Tuesday.
“We just have to go out and continue to do what we do — hit the ball, put pressure on the defense on the bases, play good defense and pitch well,” Hancock said.