A grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning led Brunwick High to a 9-3 victory against Liberty County High School on Tuesday in Brunswick.
The grand slam off Joe Watkins broke open a one-run game, Panthers coach David Samuel said.
Watkins, the team’s No. 1 starter, was the third Panthers pitcher used in the game. He relieved Trey Sikes, who relieved starter Brandon Whitmore after five innings.
Sikes walked the first batter he faced in the sixth inning and the second batter reached on an error. Brunswick bunted to load the bases, and Samuel called on Watkins.
He struck out the first two batters he faced, but Pirate Ryan Good connected on a changeup from Watkins for the grand slam.
"That really put the nail in the coffin," Samuel said.
Freshman pitcher Curtis Michalowicz took the mound and recorded the final out, but it came after he gave up one last Brunswick run.
"The final score was not an indicator of how close the game actually was," Samuel said. "Brandon (Whitmore) battled on the mound after a rough second and third inning."
Samuel said his team did a decent job at bat but didn’t keep the ball in play.
"We took some really good hacks at the ball, but popped up or fouled many pitches straight back," he said. "Any time a batter fouls a ball straight back or pops it straight up, it indicates that he is on the ball. We have to make the minor adjustment to center the ball up a little more to put it in play with a hard line drive or ground ball. We had many chances to take the lead, but we could not get the job done."
Liberty County faces No. 2-ranked Wayne County High School tonight at home.
"I was really hoping to be 2-0 in region play when Wayne County came to town," Samuel said. "Now we will adjust, put in hard work and give Wayne County everything we have."
Brunswick 9, LCHS 3
Brunswick 9, LCHS 3
Liberty County pitchers
• Brandon Whitmore —
5 innings, 4 runs, 4 strikeouts, 3 walks
• Trey Sikes — 3 runs,
1 unearned, 1 hit
• Joe Watkins —
2/3 inning, 2 strikeouts, 1 hit, 4 runs
• Curtis Michalowicz —
inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 1 walk,
LCHS top hitters
• Javaughn Shuman —
2 for 3, double, stolen base
• Antonio Smith — 2 for 3, RBI
• Watkins — double
• Cam Harris — single, RBI
• Patrick McDonald — single, stolen base
• Sikes — single