For The Tribune
Kourtney Branaman pitched a two-hit shutout and struck out 15 to lead the Brownstown Central softball team to a 9-0 win against West Washington in the second game of a doubleheader at home Saturday.
West Washington held the Braves to two hits and single runs in the fourth and sixth inning to win the opener 4-2.
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“We know it was a different team, but we had a different team, too,” Braves coach Monte Ault said in reference to both teams starting different players in the second game.
“I thought Kourtney pitched an excellent ballgame. She was keeping the ball low and throwing strikes. She’s been pitching pretty well all year long.”
The senior right-hander allowed two singles and walked one to go with her strikeouts.
The Braves got Branaman the only run she needed in the bottom of the first when Brooke Ebbing reached first base on an error. She stole second, then advanced to third and scored on another error.
Morgan Wehmiller singled in the third inning and rode home on Beth Wayman’s home run over the fence in left field.
Branaman led off the fourth inning with a double and she scored on a single by Emma Zabor.
Wehmiller walked, Wayman singled, and the Braves scored three runs on two more Senator errors. Wehmiller doubled, and Wayman and Gray were hits by pitches, and the Braves scored twice in that inning on another Senators error.
Wayman had the double and home run, plus a single and was hit by a pitch, and she scored three runs.
Wehmiller had two hits and a walk and she scored three runs, and Zabor had two hits, she scored one run and had one RBI.
“Their (second) pitcher wasn’t quite as good as their first pitcher, but you’ve still got to put the ball in play,” Ault said. “We’ve been struggling a little bit. The last three or four games we we’ve had close games. We’ve got a few girls struggling and I hope we can get them back before sectional. Some of it’s mental.”
In the opener, Brownstown had a tough time getting a bat on Nicole Stephenson’s pitches as she struck out nine and walked two.
“Their pitcher has a little bit of a motion that we don’t see too often,” Ault said. “You have to watch the ball come out of the girls’ hand. The main thing is we’re committing too many errors. The games we’ve lost, errors is what’s beat us.
“It’s a team effort. We lose by team and we win by team. Routine plays are hard for them to make sometimes.”
The Braves had five errors in the first game.
Ebbing singled in the first inning of the second game.
Maeleigh Tidd had Brownstown’s other hit when she led off the fourth inning with a double.
Katelyn Gray then sacrificed her to third, and she rounded the base and raced home and beat the throw for the Braves’ first run.
The Senators came up with five hits and took advantage of a Brownstown error to score four times in the top of the fifth.
Branaman walked in the sixth inning and scored when the center fielder dropped Gray’s fly ball.
“I told them we didn’t want to take West Washington lightly,” Ault said. “I think they went to the semi-state last year. They’ve been in every game. They beat North Harrison, they beat somebody else in our conference and their record was 9-4.”
The Braves are 15-6 and will play Columbus North today at home and will face Silver Creek tomorrow for senior night.