Lions drop 8-3A baseball opener to No. 10 Liberty Hill

Seth Owen steps on first base to record a force out after running over from the mound during the Brownwood Lions’ 7-2 loss to No. 10 Liberty Hill.

The Brownwood Lions grabbed an early lead against Liberty Hill ace Kannon Prior, but the No. 10 Panthers used a four-run fifth inning to spark their 7-2 victory in Tuesday’s District 8-3A baseball opener for both squads.

The Lions (6-12, 0-1) surrendered only five hits, but five errors in the field plagued Brownwood and aided Liberty Hill (14-4, 1-0) in its rally.

Seth Owen started on the mound and worked six innings, yielding seven runs — but only two earned — on five hits with six strikeouts and five walks.

Kory Owen pitched a perfect bottom of the sixth and recorded one strikeout.

Prior went the distance for Liberty Hill and, after surrendering three consecutive hits to open the game, gave up six hits with 11 strikeouts and two walks overall.

In the bottom of the first, Seth Owen and Pablo Salazar both singled up the middle ahead of a two-RBI double to the gap by Hayden Day, which staked Brownwood to a 2-0 advantage.

Rawlings Rios led off with a single to start the second for the Lions, but only Trent Carlton — with a two-out double in the fourth — and Tyler Jackson — with a one-out pinch-hit single in the seventh — notched hits the rest of the way against Prior.

Owen retired the Panthers in order in the first inning, then escaped a bases-loaded jam unscathed in the second.

Liberty Hill cut Brownwood’s lead in half, 2-1, in the third as Slater Foust led off with a triple and scored on Jake Stalder’s RBI ground out.

Owen again sat down Liberty Hill in order in the fourth inning, but the Panthers seized control in the top of the fifth.

Tyler Vickers drew a walk to start the fifth and later scored on errant pickoff attempt at first base from behind the plate after Stalder had reached base.

Tied at 2, Colby Schmidt followed with an RBI double that allowed Stalder to score the go-ahead run, giving the Panthers a 3-2 edge.

Mason Baty was hit by a pitch then, with two outs, Travis Gipson slapped a two-RBI single into right field that brought home Schmidt and David Nash, running for Baty.

Liberty Hill tacked on two more runs in the sixth inning as Vickers again walked ahead of a double by Foust. A wild throw in from the outfield allowed Vickers to trot home on the play. Schmidt later reached on an error, which resulted in Foust scoring the final run.

The Lions will attempt to rebound at 7 p.m. Friday at Lampasas.