For The Tribune
The Brownstown Central softball team brought home run bats to Trinity Lutheran on Saturday morning as Kourtney Branaman, Beth Wayman and Katelyn Gray hit long balls to power the Braves to a 4-2 win against the Cougars.
“We’ve felt like all year we’ve had girls capable of hitting them,” Braves coach Monte Ault said. “Beth is not a very big girl, but this makes about the fourth or fifth home run for her.
“I think we’ve got 13 as a team. Beth Wayman, Brooke Ebbing, Maeliegh Tidd, Lisa Scott, Kourtney Branaman and Katelyn Gray are all capable of hitting them. If they get a good swing they can put them out.”
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Both teams scored in the second inning. With one out on the top, Scott singled and she advanced to second on an error. Scott went to third on a passed ball and she scored when Jamie Bryant grounded out to the pitcher.
Cougars senior Kaitlyn Wright hit the first home run of her career over the fence in left field to tie the game at 1-1.
Branaman’s home run with two out in the third broke the tie, and Wayman homered in the fifth and Gray hit one in the sixth.
Morgan Gabbard led off the bottom of the fifth with a single. She tried to steal second, and was called out, but the call was reversed when the fielder dropped the ball.
Semi Newmister bunted her to third, and Taylor Russell laid down another bunt as Gabbard scored.
Bryant’s performance on the mound of three strike outs, no walks and allowing seven hits drew praise from her coach.
“I was real proud of Jami’s’ pitching today,” Ault said. “Her curve drop was working and he change up kept them off. We made some nice plays on defense. Our leftfielder, Morgan Wehmiller, came in and made a diving play (in the fifth inning), and Beth Wayman, in centerfield, caught one over her shoulder on the run.
“The only error we had, we had the girl out at second and Lisa dropped the ball. She probably had five or six assists before that. That’s what we’ve got to have. We want momentum going onto the sectional. We want to be loose and we want to be playing our best softball at the sectional.”
“Overall I’m pleased with the girls’ play,” Cougars coach Chad Goecker said. “We’ve got to eliminate the errors. The error cost us one run that game, and in a lot of games that is the difference between a win and a loss.
“The girls are doing well. We’ve just got to cut down on the errors. Some of our approaches at the plate are not good. We’ve just got to figure out a way to scratch out a run when we have to.”
This season, the Braves have been known for their hitting.
“Brownstown is a good hitting team and they work hard throughout the year on their hitting,” Goecker said. “You can never underestimate their hitters, and maybe we underestimated them a little bit today, I’m not sure.”
The Cougars outhit the Braves 7-5.
All of the Cougars’ hits were single except Wright’s home run.
Trinity left two runners on base in the first inning and four for the game. The Braves also left two on in the first and four for the game.
Goecker also said he wants to see his team raise its level of play, beginning with today’s home game against Milan, followed by games against Brown County and Silver Creek.
The Braves are 17-8 and the Cougars stand at 12-7.