(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
PERRYVILLE -- Riding the arm of pitcher Ethan Browning, second-seeded Charleston took down sixth-seeded Meadow Heights Wednesday afternoon to advance to the final round of the Class 2, District 3 Tournament.
Browning pitched seven innings of two run ball to help the Bluejays squeeze by the Panthers 3-2.
"Ethan threw the baseball incredible," Charleston coach Michael Minner said. "We got some runs early and he settled in and was just dominate on the mound.
"What a job by him to put us in a position to win."
The Bluejays would take an early lead in the contest when, with runners on second and third, Trey Watkins hit in to a fielder's choice scoring Danny McKinney from third.
The lead would short-lived, however, as Meadow Heights came back with two in the third, scoring the first on a double to left by Cody Kennedy and the second on a passed ball with Adam Williams at the plate.
In what what proved to be the difference in the game, Charleston rallied back for two runs in the fourth with Shane Scott and Trey Watkins crossing the plate safely.
Scott scored from third on a ground ball to the second baseman hit by Dustin Pullen while Watkins came in from third later in the innings off a ground ball single to left-center by Zach Rowland.
"We locked in and got focused," Minner said. "We had 18 guys in the dugout that wanted to win the baseball game. That's what it takes at this point in the year. You have to want to win."
After the third inning, Browning rolled on the mound, only allowing two hits and no walks in the final four frames while not allowing a runner to reach second.
"I felt pretty comfortable out there," Browning said. "My best pitch was probably the fastball. I kept going to that over and over.
"When my team got me that one extra run I knew I had to buckle down, really throw it and keep us in it."
In pitching the complete game Browning improve his record to 5-2 on the year. He gave up five hits and three walks for two runs while striking out three.
On offense, Charleston's hitters combined for six hits in the contest with Rowland and Scott leading the team with two apiece.
With the victory the Bluejays tie the school record for wins in a season with 17.
They'll have the opportunity to break that record and take the district championship when the take on first-seeded Scott City in the finals.
Though happy with his team's performance Wednesday afternoon, shortstop James Naile is optimistic the team's best is yet to come.
"We can play better than what we showed," he said. "I think that we're going to be ready to play our best game coming up in this championship game."
|M. Heights||002 000 0 - 2|
|Charleston||010 200 x - 3|
WP -- Ethan Browning (5-2). LP -- Brent Garlan. Multiple-hitters -- (C) Zach Rowland 2-4. Shane Scott 2-3. 2B -- (MH) Cody Kennedy.
PERRYVILLE -- Surrendering four runs early proved costly for the fourth-seeded East Prairie Eagles, as they fell 7-3 to the first-seeded Scott City Rams in the Class 2, District 3 semifinals Wednesday afternoon.
"I think we were a little shaky in the beginning," Eagle's coach Gary Scott said. "Gave up four in the first and nerves got to us a little bit being a big game.
"I give our team credit, we never quit. We were right there and we had chances."
East Prairie kicked things off with a line drive up the middle from Connor Scott scoring Dalton Golightly from second.
It didn't take Scott City long to answer with a rally of its own, scoring two runs on a two out, bases loaded hit up the middle by Jamie Scholz in the home half of the frame.
The Rams brought in another two with Ryan Fortner drawing a bases loaded walk, followed by a fielding error on East Prairie's third baseman scoring another run to give the Rams a 4-1 advantage.
Not going quietly, the Eagles cut the deficit back to within one in the third when, with runners on first and second, Scott hit a ground ball single to left-center to score Aaron Miller.
Mathis would follow Connor's hit up with a sacrifice fly to right to make it a 4-3 ball game.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, that would be as close as they would come to the Rams, going hitless the final four frames while Scott City added added another to make up the final.
Scott City combined for four four hits on the afternoon. Scholz led the team with two followed by Justin Modglin and Landon Robert with one each.
Staying flawless on the season Scholz improves his record to 8-0 with the win. He went all seven innings all three runs and five hits while striking out nine.
"Jamie threw a whale of a ball game," Scott City coach Lance Amick said. "A few bumps and bruises here and there, but kept the course and really finished up nicely for us."
Taking the loss Mathis drops to 4-2 to finish the season. Pitching a complete game he allowed six runs on only three hits while walking five.
"I came out the first inning and didn't do too well," he said. "Gave up four runs and couldn't find the strike zone. It was a hard-fought loss."
Gary Scott said he was proud of his young pitcher's performance.
"He struggled early with the strike zone," he said. "But he settled down and ended up throwing a good game."
The Eagles finished the game with five hits as Miller and Scott led the team with two apiece.
While Scott City goes on to play Charleston in the tournament finals East Prairie wraps up their season with a 13-10 mark.
With their season now at close, Gary Scott said this was one of his more enjoyable seasons as a coach.
"Through all the adversity and everything this team has been through, it's been one of my best seasons as a head coach," he said. "I can't give those guys enough credit for how hard they've battled and the work they put in. I'm very proud of them."
|East Prairie||102 000 0 - 3|
|Scott City||400 210 x - 7|
WP -- Jamie Scholz (8-0). LP -- Ryan Mathis (4-2). Multiple-hitters -- (EP) Aaron Miller 2-4, Connor Scott 2-3; (SC) Jamie Scholz 2-3. 2B -- (SC) Landon Robert, Scholz.