The start to Monday’s regular-season finale couldn’t have gone better for Brownstown Central’s baseball team.
The Braves spotted starting pitcher Ty Maxie five runs in the first inning and followed that up with 10 in the second, going through the order each time.
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Maxie and closer Mitchell Grider combined to strike out eight Springs Valley batters and only allow one base runner, as the Braves won 18-0 in five innings.
“It always helps when you spot a good lead,” Braves coach John Lawson said. “But what I’m probably happiest about is being able to play all of the seniors and let them play for a while.”
The Braves’ Senior Night was May 7, but Monday was the final home game for seniors Grider, Cole Borden, Darrell Branaman, Collin DeHart, Christian Lockman and Nigel Myers.
“It’s the last time they are going to play on this field,” Lawson said. “We’ll practice on this field, and hopefully, we get to practice for a while. But we gave them a good sendoff. It was a thank-you on behalf of the coaches for what those guys have done. They all got something done and got a lot of playing time.”
The Braves sent 11 batters to the plate in the first inning and collected a two-RBI single by Maxie, RBI doubles from Branaman and Cole Brock, a single by Zach McCory and three walks to score five times.
In the second inning, Grider drew a walk before Borden scored him with a double. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases for Myers, and an errant throw by the Blackhawks left him safe and allowed two runners to score.
Branaman then came up with a single to center field, Lockman drew a walk and DeHart singled with the bases loaded for a 10-0 score. The Braves then tacked on three more runs on McCory’s ensuing double and Grider’s sacrifice fly.
With one out in the third inning, Lockman reached on an error before DeHart hit a double, and McCory’s sacrifice fly scored Lockman.
The Braves’ final two runs came in the fourth inning. Devin Stuckwisch led off with a double, and Zech Wesley followed with an RBI single.
With two outs, Sy Zickler and Carson Lambring both reached on errors, and then Cody Williams hit an RBI single on his birthday to bring in the Braves’ final run.
DeHart, McCory, Brock and Branaman had two hits apiece, while McCory and Brock each had three RBI, and Stuckwisch and Ty Maxie both scored three times.
“Everybody got playing time in some manner or another,” Lawson said. “Not everybody got an at-bat, but everybody got to at least play some defense.”
Maxie picked up the win on the mound, striking out five and allowing one hit through three innings, and Grider added three strikeouts. The Blackhawks’ only hit — an infield single — came in the third inning, but the runner was picked off of first base.
“Any time you look at your pitching, you’ve got to throw strikes, and if you don’t walk anybody, you stand a chance,” Lawson said.
This was Grider’s first appearance on the mound since early in the season. He has battled through a bone chip on his elbow, which he suffered in the fall during football season. He also missed part of the 2014 baseball season because of an injury.
“He’s trying to make his comeback,” Lawson said. “He looked sharp for the two innings that he threw. We’re just looking to see if he’s throwing strikes and see how comfortable he is. It looked like his motion, no hitches, he’s pain-free. We just need to see what he can give us this week.”
The Braves will take a 16-8 record into Wednesday’s Class 3A Sectional 30 game against Corydon Central, a team they beat 3-2 on Senior Night.
“I like the way we played last week against Silver Creek, and we kind of showed we can play with anybody,” Lawson said.
“Corydon, I feel comfortable facing them,” he said. “Fundamentally, I just think we’re a better team. But you never know, you get some funny hops or something weird happens in baseball. You’ve got to take one game at a time, and if we get good pitching and timely hitting and we can make all of the routine plays that we’re supposed to make, then I think we’ll be OK. We just need to come (today) and put a good practice together.”