Lions topple Dragons, 7-2, in home opener

Derrick Stuckly / Brownwood Bulletin
Brownwood first baseman Tristan Chesser (18) tags Bangs' Chance Beck (8) attempting to dive back to the bag during the Lions' 7-2 victory Monday night at Morris Southall Field.

The Brownwood Lions snapped a tie with a five-run bottom of the fifth inning en route to a 7-2 victory over the Bangs Dragons in Monday night’s home opener at Morris Southall Field.

“It’s always nice to get that first win at home,” said Lions head coach Herb Rios. “We came out a little bit slow and sometimes that happens when you’re playing kids from the next town over that you know. Sometimes you press too much early.”

The win was the fifth in the last six outings for Brownwood (6-6), which evened its overall record after a 1-5 start. Bangs (2-7-1), meanwhile, dropped its fifth game in a row after opening the season at .500.

The Lions generated 10 hits off the Dragons pitching combination of Chance Beck and Colton Brewer. Beck surrendered seven runs on 10 hits with two strikeouts and a pair of walks over 4.2 innings, while Brewer recorded the last four outs and tallied three strikeouts.

Grant Fanara, Kory Owen and Blaine Hughes recorded two hits apiece for Brownwood while Tristan Chesser, Hayden Day, Graham Sharpe and Mario Saldana added one. Chesser and Hughes also finished with two RBIs while Day, Owen and Sharpe chipped in one each.

“Our bats are starting to come alive,” Rios said. “At the plate we had a lot of guys compete and they did some good things for us. I was excited to be able to get everyone an at-bat tonight.”

On the mound for the Lions, Kory Owen notched the win as he tossed six innings of six-hit ball with five strikeouts, four walks and two runs allowed. Sergio Guiterrez worked the seventh inning and walked a batter while striking out one.

“I’m real excited about how Kory performed on the mound,” Rios said. “He threw a lot of strikes throughout the game. And Sergio has been closing for us in tournaments and he also threw strikes. Tonight we weren’t as sharp defensively as we have been, so we have to make sure we make outs when our pitchers throw them for us.”

Beck finished with a pair of hits and one RBI for the Bangs offense while Charlie Bettis contributed a hit and an RBI. Zach Fuqua, Zach Zink and Kwade Mitchell added singles for the Dragons.

Knotted at 2 heading to the bottom of the fifth, Rawlings Rios drew a one-out walk against Beck and Fanara followed with a single up the middle. With runners on second and third and no outs, Day singled to left-center field to plate Rios with the go-ahead run, while Owen followed with an RBI line drive to score Fanara.

Leading 4-2, Hughes followed with an infield single to load the bases. An RBI fielder’s choice by Chesser brought home Gutierrez, running for Day, while an error on the throw to first permitted Justin Buchanan, running for Owen, to cross the plate. Sharpe drove in the last run with an RBI single to right field that scored Chesser.

Bangs struck first in the top of the third inning as Fuqua singled to right field, Beck followed with an infield base hit and Bettis delivered an RBI single to right — all with two outs.

Brownwood knotted the score at 1 in the bottom of third as Saldana led off with a single, moved to second on Carson Cloy’s sacrifice bunt, to third on Rios’ ground out and scored when Fanara reached on a two-out error.

The Lions took their first lead, 2-1, in the bottom of the fourth as Owen led off with a double, Hughes followed with a line drive over second base and Chesser’s RBI ground out scored Buchanan, running for Owen.

The Dragons leveled the score at 2 in the top of the fifth as Fuqua walked to start the frame, advanced to second on a passed ball and came home on an RBI single by Beck.

The Lions are back in action at 6 p.m. Friday at Fredericksburg while the Dragons host Winters at 7 p.m. Friday.