LIBERTY HILL — Returning to Liberty Hill for the second weekend in a row, the Brownwood Lions began baseball tournament action with losses to the host Panthers and China Spring Cougars.
For the second time in less than a week, the Lions dropped a decision to Liberty Hill, 9-1, on the Panthers' home turf.
Brownwood (2-5), which also fell to Liberty Hill (8-1) by a 9-0 count last Saturday night, was limited to three hits in the rematch. Reece Rodgers, Jakob Hataway and Hunter Day each singled off Liberty Hill's duo of Ryan Rhoden and Ryan Flake, who struck out five batters with no walks.
Mason Ryden worked four innings on the mound for the Lions, allowing eight runs on 10 hits with five walks and no strikeouts. Kyler Judkins faced three batters and surrendered one run on two hits.
Flake finished with a pair of hits — including a home run — and four RBI, while Andon Thomas chipped in three hits for Liberty Hill.
The Lions' run scored in the top of the fifth inning after Liberty Hill had opened an 8-0 advantage. With two outs, Hataway singled to right field, then moved to second base on an error. Day followed with an RBI infield single to bring home Hataway and break up the shutout.
Also Thursday, the Lions were on the short end of a 6-0 decision against China Spring.
Brownwood mustered just four hits — singles by Judkins, Jakob Dorsett, Landon Harris, and Trynten Slaughter.
On the mound, Day worked 2.1 innings and allowed four runs — one earned — on five hits with three walks and a strikeout, while Baylor Tidwell gave up two runs on one hit with one walk in one-third of an inning. Xadrian Mares pitched three innings and fanned six batters while yielding two hits.
For China Spring (6-1) — which scored four runs in the first inning and two more in the fourth — Brayden Faulkner tallied two hits and drove in two, Kaden Weeden added two RBI and a hit, and Jacob Kuligowski and Trace Necessary recorded two hits apiece.
Seth Jennings, Taylor Griner and Bryce Tabor combined on the shutout, striking out seven batters and walking two — Harris and Ryden.
The Lions are slated to face Iowa Park and the Austin Waves Saturday.