BRUNSWICK — Thanks to a big second inning on Friday, Brunswick was able to keep its pitching staff fresh for Saturday’s rematch with Frederick National.
Three pitchers combined on a three-hitter, with one earned run, and Brunswick defeated Four County 14-2 in the elimination-round final of the District 2 Little League Tournament. Friday’s win was highlighted by a walkoff, three-run home run by Ethan Houck, in the bottom of the fifth inning, which ended the game early because of the mercy rule.
The win sends Brunswick back to Robert B. Staley Stadium for a 6 p.m. game against rival Frederick National in a potential championship game on Saturday. National is undefeated and needs just one win for the district crown and home-field advance for the Little League state tournament, which begins on Saturday, July 20, at Staley Stadium.
In order for Brunswick to have its best chance at defeating Four County on Friday, manager Cody Bechtol went with his ace, Colin Pearre, as the starter. Bechtol hoped his team would be able to get a large enough lead so he could take Pearre out at soon as possible.
“It was Colin’s game,” Bechtol said. “But we wanted to get him out early, if we could. We were able to give him an easy cushion [of a lead].”
With the score tied at 2 in the bottom of the second, Brunswick gave Pearre that cushion, batting around for six runs and an 8-2 lead. Pearre was able to leave the game after two innings, pitching one-hit baseball with three strikeouts, one earned run, and a walk.
Pearre threw 35 pitches, meaning he’s available to pitch on Sunday at Brunswick, should Brunswick win Saturday’s game at Frederick National. Under Little League pitching rules, Pearre needs just one calendar day’s rest before he returns to the mound.
“We’ve got a lot of good pitchers behind Colin, so we felt comfortable with the situation on Friday, once he left the game,” Bechtol said.
The remainder of the pitching duties for Brunswick on Friday went to Houck and Brady Renn. Houck worked 1 2/3 innings with one hit and four strikeouts. Renn was the closer with one hit and two strikeouts the rest of the way.
Brunswick got 12 hits off of four Four County pitchers. Houck had the hot bat of the day, going 4-for-4 with two doubles, a triple and his game-ending three-run homer in the fifth, which cleared the fence in left-center field with ease. He had six RBIs for the game.
“I was seeing a lot of fastballs,” Houck said. “I let some go by because I was waiting for a good pitch to hit, then I went after it.”
Nathan Borawski had two hits, with a double and two RBIs, for Brunswick. Jackson Dudley had two hits with an RBI.
“This group was hungry for another shot at Frederick National,” Bechtol said. National defeated Brunswick in the winners’ bracket final on Wednesday, 7-0. “That game left a sour taste in their mouths. They wanted one more chance.”
Caleb Kearns, Bryce Meyer and Jack Scarzello each had a hit for Four County. Meyer had an RBI.
“This group’s played great baseball all season,” Four County manager Jason Evans said. “We battled back through the losers’ bracket. They’ve showed a lot of improvement this year.”