Brownwood to face No. 1 Argyle in third round after wins of 12-0, 15-3
ABILENE — A pair of eight-run fourth innings sparked the Brownwood Lions to a Region I-4A area baseball sweep of the Midland Greenwood Rangers, 12-0 and 15-3, Friday afternoon at Abilene Christian University.
With the victories, the Lions (17-10) will move to face No. 1 Argyle (33-1-1) in a Region I-4A quarterfinal playoff series next weekend in Glen Rose. Game 1 is slated for 7:30 p.m. Thursday with Game 2 to follow at the same time Friday. Game 3, if needed, will begin at noon Saturday.
In Brownwood's opening 12-0 win over Greenwood (13-17), the Lions finished with a dozen hits — four by Reece Rodgers, who drove in a run and scored twice; two each by Cain Kittrell and Gavon Clemons, who collected two RBI each; a pair of hits and an RBI from A.J. McCarty; a triple and two RBI from Kris Hobbs; and a single and an RBI from Jakob Hataway.
On the mound, Jakob Dorsett tossed a four-hit shutout, striking out four and walking three in five innings of work. The Lions defense committed just one error behind him.
The Lions seized control from the get-go, striking for four runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Kittrell reached on an error by the shortstop, one of two miscues committed by the Rangers, to start the frame. Rodgers reached on an infield single to third base ahead of Clemons' RBI double to right field that drove in Khyren Deal, running for Kittrell, with the only run Brownwood needed.
Following a two-out walk by Grayson Swanzy, McCarty legged out an RBI infield single to third base that plated Clemons. Hobbs then ripped a two-RBI triple over the right fielder's head, knocking in Swanzy and McCarty for a 4-0 cushion.
Greenwood's best chance to score came in the top of the fourth inning when Skyler Dominguez walked, Jalen Fuentes singled and Austin Dominguez walked to load the bases with no outs. But Dorsett retired Cameron Jones on a pop out to Clemons at second base, Kobe Jameson grounded back to Dorsett on the mound who threw home for the force out, and Brody Ray popped out to Hataway at shortstop.
Brownwood responded with an eight-spot in the bottom of the frame to put the game out of reach.
Consecutive singles by Kittrell and Rodgers, followed by an RBI double from Clemons staked the Lions to a 5-0 lead. Hunter Leonard followed with an RBI sacrifice fly to left field, knocking in Rodgers with the sixth run.
With two outs in the fourth, McCarty singled and Hobbs was hit by a pitch, then C.J. Hanley reached on an error that allowed both Clemons and McCarty to score. An RBI infield single by Hataway followed, which plated Hobbs for a 9-0 cushion. Kittrell followed with a two-RBI double to left field that brought home Hanley and Hataway, while Rodgers wrapped up the scoring with an RBI single to center that scored Deal, again running for Kitrrell.
In the 15-3 victory, the Lions and Greenwood were knotted at 3 prior to a brief rain delay. Brownwood came out of the break with another eight-run fourth inning to open an 11-3 advantage and cruised to the finish.
The Lions compiled 19 hits in Game 2 — three with three RBI from both Kittrell and Hobbs; two and a pair of RBI from Hanley; two hits and one RBI apiece from Leonard and Swanzy; a pair of hits from Rodgers and Hataway; and a double and four RBI from Clemons.
Clemons also tallied the win on the mound, tossing 5.2 innings of relief with no runs allowed on four hits and one walk, with three strikeouts. Mason Ryden got the start and gave up three runs on three hits with one strikeout — the only batter he retired.
Brownwood again got off to a fast start, scoring three times in the top of the first.
Kittrell singled, Rodgers walked and Clemons' two-RBI double to center field gave the Lions a 2-0 advantage three batters into the contest. Clemons later scored on a one-out RBI single by Swanzy.
The Lions — who recorded three consecutive shutouts to begin postseason play — gave up their only runs of playoff action thus far in the bottom of the first.
Ray led off with a double, Tristan Ramey reached on a fielder's choice and Brooks Lundgren delivered a one-out RBI triple. A throwing error on the play allowed Ramey to score as well. Skyler Dominguez's RBI single then plated Lundgren, as Greenwood drew even at 3 with one out in the first inning. Clemons then came on in relief of Ryden, and the Ranger offense went dormant.
Brownwood's momentum-shifting fourth inning started with consecutive singles from Hobbs, Hanley and Hataway to fill the sacks with no outs. Hobbs scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball ahead of a two-RBI double to left field by Kittrell, which knocked in Hanley and Hataway. Leading 6-3, Rodgers singled and Clemons followed with an RBI sac fly that drove home Deal, running for Kittrell. Brownwood's lead grew to 8-3 on an RBI single to right field by Leonard that plated Rodgers.
With two outs, McCarty prolonged the inning with a single then Hobbs singled home both Leonard and McCarty for a 10-3 edge. The final run of the inning was the product of an RBI single by Hanley, which knocked in Hobbs.
The Lions tacked on four more runs in the sixth to enforce the 10-run mercy rule.
With one out, Swanzy and McCarty both singled and Hobbs followed with an RBI base hit to left field. Hanley's RBI fielder choice's drove home McCarty to extend the lead to double figures, 13-3. After a single by Hataway, Kittrell knocked in Hanley with an RBI infield single to third base. Rodgers walked to load the bases, then Clemons was hit by pitch to bring home Hataway with the 15th and final run of the contest.