Brentwood Baseball anthem

After letting a 5-0 lead slip through their fingers, the Brentwood Bruins baseball team (18-8, 7-3) won a nailbiter 7-6 on the road against the Franklin Admirals (16-10, 7-3) Tuesday night.

“We kept competing in the box and offensively,” said Brentwood head coach Bill Moore. “You are reminded about how big game one is, and for some teams, it can set the series on a trajectory positively.”

“My guys showed they have big hearts and a lot of fight,” said Franklin head coach Wally Whidby. “They will not lay down when they run into the face of adversity. Whether the score is 5-0 in your favor or against you, you have got to continue to compete.”

In the top of the first inning, Franklin junior starting pitcher Drew Whalen retired the side in order recording a strikeout and forcing a flyout and groundout to keep Brentwood scoreless.

Brentwood starting pitcher Paul Delligatti went three up-three down in the bottom of the first, picking off a runner advancing to second and two flyouts to stay at 0-0.

Brentwood provided fireworks in the top of the second, scoring five runs in the frame starting with a two-run RBI single from junior John Pizzi. A controversial safe call at first on the second part of a double play extended the inning. Then, a wild pitch gave the Bruins their third run. Brentwood’s other two runs were driven in with an RBI single from senior Sam Billington and a RBI double from Aaron Walton, giving the Bruins a 5-0 lead.

Delligatti retired the side in order in the bottom of the second, drawing a groundout and a flyout along with a strikeout to keep the Bruins margin at 5-0.

Whalen battled back in the top of the third, tallying two strikeouts and forcing a flyout to left as the Bruins advantage stayed at 5-0.

Franklin got a run back in the bottom of the third as an error by Brentwood on a wide throw to first base allowed a run to come home, cutting the Bruins lead to 5-1.

In the top of the fourth inning, Whalen continued to keep Franklin in the game, retiring the side in order with a strikeout, groundout to second, and a flyout to left. Brentwood’s advantage stayed at 5-1.

“Drew is one of the best two-way players in the state of Tennessee,” said Whidby. “I expect to win when he takes the mound. We had a bad inning and a couple of things that did not go our way. Drew settled in, pounded the strike zone, and challenged hitters. A normal high school kid could have folded under that pressure. Drew thrived under it.”

Franklin rallied to tie the game at 5 in the bottom of the fourth inning, beginning with an RBI single from junior Alex Eisenbeck. Later in the inning, freshman Carson Hoard drove in two runs on another RBI single. The Admirals tied it on an RBI single from Xavier commit junior Caleb Anderson.

In the top of the fifth inning, Brentwood retook the lead on RBI singles from seniors Scott Collins and Connor Bartley to go ahead 7-5.

“It was a good timely hit (by Bartley),” said Moore. “They say two-out hits win games.”

The Admirals had the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning, but Brentwood senior reliever Zach Atkins saved the day, getting a strikeout to end the frame. The Bruins held on 7-5.

“There are so many little things that play a part in wins,” said Moore. “Zach coming out there in a really crucial situation and getting a key out for us was big. He has become one of our go-to guys out of the bullpen. He is a fearless kid with the ball and likes those situations.”

Franklin Admirals starter Drew Whalen got out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the sixth inning, forcing a groundout to the shortstop and keeping the game close 7-5.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Brentwood junior reliever David Finch had a one-two-three inning, recording a strikeout and forcing a groundout and flyout to keep the Bruins advantage 7-5.

Admirals senior reliever Ben Nordhoff retired the side in order in the top of the seventh, accumulating a strikeout and drawing two flyouts (7-5).

In the bottom of the seventh, Franklin cut the Brentwood lead to one on a RBI double from senior Jaden Smoot. The Admirals just missed tying the game or winning in the final at-bat when junior Alex Eisenbeck hit a fly ball to the left fielder on the warning track. The Bruins held on to win 7-6.

“Jaden has really worked hard at fixing his swing,” said Whidby. “He just got his barrel through the zone and hit a double.”

“The whole team believes in Alex,” continued Whidby. “He was a couple feet away from winning the ball game for us.”

Franklin will travel to Brentwood for round two of the three game series on Wednesday.

“We want to continue what we did in the last inning,” said Whidby. “Brentwood won the game, but the momentum was in our dugout. Whoever they put on the mound, our guys are going to come up there with a good approach and try to put balls in play.”

Brentwood will host Franklin on Wednesday.

“We have to take care of the baseball better,” said Moore. “We have gotten good outings from our pitchers.”