For The Tribune
Coach Monte Ault has seen his Brownstown Central softball team turn in outstanding defensive plays game after game as the Braves have won their first eight games of the season.
Defense, however, proved to be the Braves’ downfall in the championship game of the Brown County Invitational on Saturday.
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The Braves committed two errors in the first inning against Hauser that led to two unearned runs, and the Jets won 4-3.
The Braves reached the finals with a 2-0 win against Columbus North earlier in the day.
“We kind of messed up that one play,” Ault said. “We knew when they get runners on first and third that they do a suicide squeeze every time with less than two outs. We forgot to tell our pitcher and catcher to throw a rise ball or a pitch out.
“We knew what they were going to do there, and we had a couple of plays where we didn’t execute quite right. If you take away the first inning, where they got three runs, I think we outplayed them.”
The Jets’ No. 3 hitter, Hailey Lange, reached base on a fielding error and later scored on a throwing error for the third run of the first inning.
The Braves got one of those runs back in the bottom of the first when Katelyn Gray doubled, and she scored when the right fielder was unable to catch Maeleigh Tidd’s fly ball.
The Jets used two hits and an infield out to add a run in the top of the second, but the Braves equaled that run in the bottom of the inning when Kourtney Branaman doubled and scored on an error by the first baseman.
With two out and nobody on in the fifth, Brooke Ebbing doubled to left-center and scored on Gray’s third hit of the game. Tidd followed with another double, but the next batter struck out to end the rally. The Braves went out in order in the sixth and seventh innings.
The Braves held a 7-6 advantage in the hit department as Jami Bryant struck out two Jets and didn’t walk any.
Grey was four-for-five against the Jets in the first game of the season, so in the two games this spring she was 7-for-8.
Brownstown scored runs in the first two innings to lead all the way to top Columbus North.
With one out in the first, Ebbing singled, stole second and she scored on a single by Tidd.
Lisa Scott walked leading off the second inning, she advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on a double by Branaman.
The Braves had seven hits this game with Ebbing and Tidd both getting two, while Wayman and Branaman had doubles.
Branaman allowed the Bull Dogs singles in the second and fourth innings. She retired the final 12 batters she faced, struck out eight and didn’t walk any.
“Kourtney pitched a real good game against Columbus,” Ault said. “Jami was a little nervous but settled down after the first inning.
“Overall, I’m pretty well pleased. I wanted to get the win. We weren’t planning on going undefeated all year. We just want to play one game at a time. We’ve got some tough teams coming up.”
The Braves take an 8-1 record to Seymour today. Hauser is 7-1.