After a lengthy drought period of clutch two-out hits, Brentwood Academy came through with flying colors Monday.
The host Eagles shot down DII Middle Region leading Battle Ground Academy 11-8 Monday afternoon to ease back into the picture. At the top of the class was senior catcher Jacob Stallings, who ripped a pair of key, two-out, two-run singles and went 2-for-3 with four RBIs to lead the offense.
“We’ve had a tough stretch recently where we weren’t getting any two-out hits with men on base,’’ said the 6-4 Stallings. “Coach (Buddy) Alexander told us before the game we needed to do a better job in that area, and I think all of us did,’’ added Stallings, a North Carolina signee.
Shortstop Sam Dove and right-fielder Mason Graham both had bunt singles during a five-run second inning, which gave the Eagles an 8-1 lead. Dove went 3-for-4 and had two stolen bases.
“We’ve been struggling lately with the two-out hits,’’ said Dove, a junior. “Coach Alexander said it was important to get to their pitcher (David Isaacs) early, because he generally gets stronger as the game goes along.’’
The Eagles handed the left-handed Isaacs, BGA’s ace and career wins leader (25), his first loss of the season, dropping him to 6-1.
The win pulled the Eagles up to .500 at 12-12 and 5-4 in the region. BGA fell to 17-7 and 6-2, still in first place in the region, but barely.
Lefty Ben LePere (4-2) got the win, going five innings, with relievers Phillip Henninger, Jay Luna and Will Blalock managing to hold off the late-charging Wildcats.
Dove’s three hits led BA’s 13-hit attack, while Mark Jacobs, Drew Floyd and Stallings all had two hits each, and Blalock came up as a pinch-hitter in the fourth inning and rapped a solo homer to right. He also picked up the save with a seventh-inning relief effort.
BGA didn’t go down without a fight.
Trailing 11-2 heading to the sixth, the Wildcats pushed across six runs as Navery Moore capped the big inning with his second homer of the game, slicing it to 11-8. Moore, who hit a solo shot to left in the second, added a two-run blast to right, scoring behind Isaacs, who had just hit a two-run double.
BGA actually got the tying run to the plate in the seventh after Chris Marconcini and Michael Moore walked, but Blalock got the final out. Navery Moore went 4-for-4, catcher Ben Caudill was 3-for-4 with two RBIs, and Isaacs and Marconcini had two hits each in BGA’s 14-hit attack.
“We just had a tough loss to MBA where we didn’t get the big two-out hits,’’ said 14th-year BA coach Buddy Alexander. “We’ve had a problem all year of leaving too many men on base, but today we were much better at that.’’
“They just kicked us today, no excuses,’’ said BGA coach Brad Myers. “We had far too many lapses, and they were much better than we were in every area,’’ added Myers, who hopes his team bounces back vs. BA at home Wednesday with England Smith the expected starter.
The teams conclude their three-game series Thursday back at BA.