Different sides of the bracket
Published 4:17 am Wednesday, July 5, 2006
East Brewton in 11-12s driver's seat; Brewton fighting for its life
By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
It was a decision most managers shy away from, but it was a no-brainer for East Brewton coach Danny Parker.
With one run already in, his team's lead down to a mere run and two runners already on base, Parker ordered relief pitcher Hayden Cooper to intentionally walk Brewton slugger Conner Denton to load the bases in the bottom of the sixth inning of Sunday's second-round
district tournament game at Andalusia.
The walk to Denton gave Cooper no room for error, but he did not need any. Cooper got Brewton cleanup batter Dylan Bell on a called third strike that preserved East Brewton's 4-3 win.
Denton had already homered and singled earlier in the game. He had also homered the day before in Brewton's 10-0 first-round win over Andalusia.
As good as Denton was, East Brewton starting pitcher Gary McGraw was even better. McGraw scattered six hits over five plus innings of work to get the win, but his biggest contribution probably came at the plate where he belted two solo homeruns off Denton.
East Brewton picked up an unearned run in the top of the first inning against Brewton pitcher Kameron Winn, who went the opening frame before Denton took over. Monterius Culliver reached on an error and went all the way to third base on the base. Two batters later Reid Johnson drove him home with a sacrifice fly that gave East Brewton a lead it would not relinquish.
McGraw gave Denton a rude welcome to the mound in the top of the second when he led off with the first of his two homeruns that doubled East Brewton's advantage to 2-0.
McGraw did the same thing in the top of the fourth when he led off the inning with another solo shot that increased East Brewton's lead to 3-0.
East Brewton's last run, which came in the top of the fifth, was nearly a carbon copy of its first. Culliver again reached on an error and scored on another sacrifice fly by Johnson.
Brewton cut its 4-0 deficit in half on just two swings in the bottom of the fifth. Collin Graves got to McGraw when he belted a solo homerun that put Brewton on the board. Denton did the same thing moments later.
Brewton, which stranded 10 runners for the game, got a walk to Shawn Odom and a single by Edward Hines to start the bottom of the sixth.
Hines' hit ended McGraw's day on the hill, but Cooper quickly set down Christian Purvis and Louis Miller. Graves kept Brewton's hopes alive when he beat out an infield single. After Denton was walked to load the bases, Cooper retired Bell on a called third strike.
While the loss dropped Brewton into the elimination bracket, it sent East Brewton into Tuesday's championship bracket third round. If East Brewton won Tuesday, it advanced to the championship round that gets underway Thursday at 7 p.m. If East Brewton lost Tuesday, it plays an elimination game today at 7 p.m.
East Brewton 110 110 - 4 5 2
Brewton 000 021 - 3 7 2