The Brentwood Bruins baseball team played (20-3, 10-3) small ball to squeeze out a win over the Independence Eagles (15-10, 3-10) at home Tuesday afternoon, 3-2.
“We are trying to get ourselves in the best position for the district tournament,” said Brentwood head coach Bill Moore. “Indy is a tough group. I am proud of our kids responding.”
“Today they (Brentwood) made outs when they needed to in big spots,” said Independence head coach Mike McLaury. “We did not do a good job hitting or fielding the bunt.”
In the top of the first inning, Brentwood starting pitcher Paul Delligatti got off to a fast start, drawing two fly outs to center field and a fly out to right field, 0-0.
Independence starter Ben Cleaver struck out the side in the bottom of the first as the game stayed tied 0-0.
Brentwood’s Delligatti continued to roll, forcing a lineout, fly out and pop out to remain 0-0 in the top of the second.
The Bruins got on the board first in the bottom of the second inning with a bases loaded RBI groundout to second base by catcher Cade Cauthen to give Brentwood a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the third inning, Independence answered with an RBI single from designated hitter Drew Blalock to knot the game at 1.
Brentwood took back the lead on an RBI single from first baseman Ben Caylor in the bottom of the third inning to gain the advantage, 2-1.
Delligatti held the Independence offense at bay in the top of the fourth inning, drawing an out on a sacrifice bunt, forcing a pop out to second base, and a fly out to center field, keeping the score at 2-1.
The Bruins extended their lead in the bottom of the fourth with a surprise bunt single resulting in an RBI by shortstop Matthew Coggin, 3-1.
“Sometimes, you just got to execute, and he was able to do it,” said Coach Moore.
Independence cut into the deficit in the top of the fifth inning with Drew Blalock’s second RBI of the night on a sac fly to remain in striking distance, 3-2.
“We inserted him in the lineup over a week ago, and he has done a good job earning more playing time in that spot (fourth),” said Coach McLaury.
Independence reliever Jacob Almon retired the side in order in the bottom of the fifth inning, inducing a groundout to third and two fly outs to hold the Bruins at 3-2.
Brentwood reliever Jack Morris kept the score at 3-2 in the top of the sixth inning, recording a strikeout and forcing a fly out to right and left fields.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Independence reliever Almon continued to close the door, retiring the side in order with a strikeout swinging, a groundout to second base and a fly out to right field to keep the Bruins lead 3-2.
Brentwood reliever Morris recorded a save in the top of the seventh, collecting the final out on a fly ball to center field and stranding a runner at second base. This gave Brentwood their tenth win in district play, 3-2.
Morris and Delligatti held the Eagles to two runs throughout the contest.
“They were able to mix and change speeds, hit spots, and made quality pitches when they had to,” said Coach Moore.
The Eagles will travel to Ravenwood on Thursday night.
“Ravenwood has a lot to play for in trying to win a district championship,” said Coach McLaury. “We will face a good Ravenwood team and see how well we bounce back.”
Brentwood will host Spring Hill at home Thursday night.
“I hope to see a group that loves baseball have fun doing it,” said Coach Moore.