Aledo scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning but could not get over the hump as Denton Braswell hung on to take a 9-8 win over the Bearcats Friday afternoon in game one of a Class 5A best-of-three bi-district baseball playoff series at Northwest High School.
Bearcats fans need to take notice of another time change for game two. Game 2 of the series is now set for 3 p.m. Saturday at Northwest High School, with game three, if necessary, to follow.
Trailing 9-5, the Bearcats came to bat in the top of the seventh inning at the top of their batting order. Lead-off hitter Jake Bishop patiently worked a walk before the next batter, Nathen Fingar, singled to put runners on first and second with no outs.
Hunter Rosson followed, and the senior worked the count to 3-2. Braswell pitcher Gage Goodman’s 3-2 offering was ” a fast ball down the middle” and Rosson blasted the pitch well over the left-field fence for a three-run home run that cut the Bengals’ lead to 9-8.
Unruffled, Goodman sent down the next three Aledo hitters in order to seal the win as Braswell takes a 1-0 lead in the series.
“Hunter had a big knock (homer), and he is our catalyst and did what he needed to do to get us back into the game,” Bearcats head coach Chad Barry said. “He is one of our leaders, and he delivered.”
Barry said ace Steven Swift will start on the hill in game two. Aledo will be the designated “home” team in game two.
“We will talk about a few things we need to correct before (Saturday’s) game, but I think we need to pitch better,” Barry said. “I don’t think we pitched very well today. Braswell got a few Texas Leaguer’s (bloop hits) that you can’t do anything about … we just have to be better tomorrow. We got Swift going in game two, and if we can get to a game three I like our chances.”
Barry said Chance Roberts will start on the mound in the third and series-deciding game if Aledo can square the series.
In the first inning, Aledo took a 2-0 lead on runs by Bishop and Fingar. Bishop reached when he legged out an infield hit, and Fingar reached on a bunt single. Bishop scored on a sacrifice fly by Garrison Berkley, and Fingar crossed the plate on a throwing error.
Braswell tied the game, 2-2, when in the bottom of the second inning the Bengals scored two runs off three hits while also taking advantage of a hit batter off Aledo starting pitcher Briley Rodriguez.
The Bearcats took a brief 3-2 lead in the top of the third inning when a triple by Rosson plated Bishop, who reached on a single. Rosson led the ‘Cats with a triple and a home run that produced four RBI, while Bishop and Fingar each added two base hits.
Braswell exploded for five runs in the bottom of the third to take a 7-3 lead. The first three batters reached on singles, while the fourth hitter in the inning blasted a two-run double. Another run scored on an infield hit, while another crossed home plate after a batter was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. The fifth run scored of the frame came on a sacrifice squeeze bunt as Braswell led 7-3 after three innings.
The Bearcats cut the lead to 7-4 in the top of the fourth when a triple by Vaughn Shields drove in Zach Reinert, who reached on a single. But Braswell matched the score in the bottom of the frame courtesy of a hit, stolen base and hit to extend the lead to 8-4.
Aledo cut the lead to 8-5 in the top of the sixth inning when Reinert earned his second RBI as his ground out plated Logan Lopez. Lopez was running for catcher Gehrig Mosiello, who had reached on an error. Lopez got into scoring position thanks to a single by Tripp Jones.
But again, Braswell matched the run in the bottom of the frame to take a 9-5 lead into the seventh inning.
Rodriguez allowed seven runs on eight hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 2-1/3 innings. Hunter McConathy came on in relief, allowing two runs on three hits with three walks in 3-2/3 innings.
Braswell starting pitcher Brant Bennett allowed four earned runs on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts in six innings. Relief pitcher Brandon Lopez walked the lone batter he faced and was charged with an earned run, and Goodman allowed two runs on two hits in one inning.