The Brownwood Lions concluded the regular season with a second straight setback but, thanks to archrival Stephenville, still hoisted the District 7-4A baseball championship trophy Friday night.
The Lions dropped a 5-3 decision to the Godley Wildcats at Morris Southall Field, but Stephenville's 2-1 victory over Glen Rose ensured Brownwood a one-game cushion in the final league standings and the outright district championship — the program's first crown since 2011.
“At the first of district we told them to put yourselves in a position to where you're in control, and we did that and I commend them on that,” said Lions head coach Blandon Hancock, whose team won its first six league outings. “I wish these last two games would have gone a little bit different, but this can happen whenever you go out and take care of business early.”
Brownwood will open postseason action in a best of three bi-district series against District 8-4A fourth seed Springtown. All games will be held at Whitney, with the opener set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Games 2 and 3, if needed, at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
Against Godley Friday, the Lions (13-10 6-2) erased a three-run deficit only to witness the Wildcats (11-10, 4-4) reclaim the lead in the top of the fifth inning.
In the fifth, Easton James singled to center field with one out, Nick Menchaca followed with a walk and both runners moved up a base on a Jakob Dorsett wild pitch. A passed ball later allowed James to score the go-ahead run, while Chase Lummus' RBI sacrifice fly to center field plated Menchaca with an insurance run.
The Lions made noise in the bottom of the fifth inning when Grayson Swanzy singled with two outs, but was stranded. In the sixth, the threat was greater as C.J. Hanley and Jakob Hataway singled in succession with one out, but again Brownwood was turned away.
In the seventh inning, the Lions were retired in order.
Godley grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first inning as James and Menchaca singled, then Lummus doubled home the initial run — all with no outs. With one down, Victor Molina's RBI sacrifice fly scored Menchaca, then Colin Workman's RBI single to right plated Tyler Kirby, running for Lummus.
The Lions tallied their first two runs in the bottom of the third as Cain Kittrell singled with one out, and Gavon Clemons followed with a two-out, two-run blast over the scoreboard in left field.
Brownwood knotted the score at 3-all in the fourth as Hataway – who reached on a fielder's choice that retired Kris Hobbs after a leadoff walk — scored on Kittrell's two-out RBI double to deep center field.
Kittrell finished with three of Brownwood's eight hits, including a pair of doubles, while Hanley added two hits and Swanzy, Hataway and Clemons — with the home run — contributed one apiece.
On the mound, Dorsett worked five innings and gave up three earned runs on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Clemons pitched two scoreless innings of relief, yielding one hit and one walk with three strikeouts.