Brewton Orioles clinch division championship

Published 11:10 am Friday, May 6, 2011

Thursday was the night the Orioles have been waiting for all year. Behind his second-straight 15-strikeout performance, pitcher Hunter Brittain needed every single one to help lead his team to a nail-biting 3-2 win over the upstart Yankees in a victory that clinched the Brewton Cal Ripken regular-season 11-12 Division championship at the YMCA SportsPark. The Yankees, who came into the night riding a three-game winning streak, got an equally impressive pitching performance from Caleb Winton against the tough-hitting Oriole lineup. Winton had 10 strikeouts to counter Brittain’s performance. In the only other game played Thursday, the East Brewton Yankees defeated the Cardinals, 12-8, in a 9-10 Division Game.

The Orioles’ Hunter Brittain and the Yankees’ Caleb Winton battled pitch for pitch throughout the contest, both giving up just two hits and registering double figures in strikeouts. Brittain struck out 15, while Winton sat down 10 on strikes. Brittain finally got the win in the bottom of the sixth when clutch-hitting Russell Smith – with the Yankee infield playing in on the grass – squeezed a one-out, bases-loaded ground ball between the first- and second-basemen to score Jordan Williams with the winning run.
The victory also clinched the Brewton Cal Ripken League regular-season championship for the Orioles, as they moved to 7-0 within the league and 11-2 overall. The second spot in the standings are still up for grabs between the Yankees (2-4 in the league. 5-7 overall) and the Phillies (1-5 and 4-6). The Yankees have one game remaining against both the Orioles and the Phillies.
In Thursday’s well-played game, the Orioles scored single runs in the first, third and sixth, while the Yankees scored in the first inning and the top of the sixth.
In that first inning, the Yankees drew first blood when Joshua Winton smacked a two-out double in the right-centerfield gap and scored when Jason Konsler followed with an RBI line-drive single to left. The Orioles countered with a run of their own in the bottom of the same inning. Brittain, who had two of his team’s hits, had a one-out single after Yankee right-fielder Austin Rowell made a nice grab of Williams’ fly ball to lead off the game. After Caleb Winton got a strikeout to get the second out, an infield error allowed Brittain to score from third. Another strikeout by Winton ended the inning.
In the third, Brittain helped his own cause when he muscled an inside pitch for a two-out solo home run just over the left-field fence. It was his second of the year, both coming against the Yankees. The lead held true as Brittain struck out six and walked just two over the next two innings. In the meantime, Winton was striking out four of the next six to keep pace and stay within the 2-1 score.
Finally, the Yankees were able to break through and tie the game at 2-apiece in the top of the sixth when Caleb Winton coaxed a leadoff walk from Brittain, moved to third on a pair of passed balls and scored on Jason Konsler’s ground out to second base. Preston Townsend then drew a two-out walk and moved to third with the possible go-ahead run thanks to a couple more passed balls, but was stranded there when Brittain registered his 15th and final strikeout of the night, setting up Smith’s heroics. Konsler came on to pitch the sixth inning and promptly struck out the first batter he faced before Williams slapped an 0-1 pitch through the infield for a hit. A walk to Brittain moved Williams to second and both moved up on a wild pitch, prompting the Yankees to intentionally walk Stokes Jennings to load the bases in the hopes of getting a ground ball they could throw home for a force. But, facing an 0-2 pitch, Smith – as has been the case many times this year – was able to punch a ground ball just past the drawn-in infield for the deciding run.
While Brittain had the single and home run, Williams had the late-inning single for the Orioles’ hits, while Joshua Winton’s double and Konsler’s RBI single in the first inning were the Yankees’ only hits of the game. In addition, Yankee leftfielder Steven McCall made a nice diving catch to provide a defensive gem for his team.

The Yankees built an 8-0 lead through three innings, only to watch the Cardinals storm back with five runs over the next two frames to get within striking distance in their final at-bat before the door was slammed and the opportunity pulled out from under them.
Five walks in the top of the first proved fatal for the Cardinals as those free passes led to four runs right out of the gate. Caleb Sexton’s two-run single with the bases loaded and two outs was a big blow for the Yankees, who scored two runs in each of the second and fourth innings to take what seemed an insurmountable lead.
But the Cardinals mounted a comeback over the next two innings to climb to within 8-5. They scored four runs in the fourth when Kyle Blevins and A.J Walker each had RBI singles. Hunter Johnson then had an RBI single in the fifth to score Gage Capers setting up a bottom of the sixth that started with much promise.
Todd Watson drew a leadoff walk against Yankee fireballer Jacoby Hawthorne – who came on in relief in the fifth – and the next batter had a chance to draw a walk when the count went to 3-1. But Hawthorne fired two straight strikes to get the out, then promptly struck the next two batters out on seven pitches to secure the win.
For the Yankees, Sexton was joined by Jackson Carpenter, Jennings Hobbs and Hawthorne to get their team’s four hits, while Blevins, Johnson and Walker had all of the Cardinals’ hits.

CARDINALS 16, EB MARLINS 8 (Monday Game)
Drew Reed and Landon Qualls combined for 11 strikeouts to help lead the Cardinals to the big win. Reed struck out six and walked none, while Qualls sat down five on strikes and only yielded two walks and no hits.
On the offensive side for the Cards, Hunter Johnson was perfect at the plate with four hits that chased home three runs. Logan Bush was 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs. A.J. Walker and Qualls each had two hits, including an RBI, Brandon Smith added a double, while Todd Watson contributed a two-run single, Reed an RBI single and Cam Knapp added a single.
The Marlins got a two-run triple and a single from Matt Thomas, while Dylan Ingram added a pair of singles and two RBIs. Jacob, Bondurant, Kage Kennedy and Caleb Kaylor all contributed singles.