Brookland-Cayce created a virtual three-way tie for first place in Region 5-3A baseball with a wild 6-5 road win at Dreher on Wednesday. It was a 15-inning marathon affair that lasted four hours, 35 minutes.
“It was a long night, but a good one for us,” mused Bearcats coach Brian Hucks. “It really was two separate games in one and we were fortunate to get out of there with the win.”
The verdict left the defending state champion Bearcats with a 5-2 region record, 16-5 overall. Dreher technically still is in sole possession of first place at 6-2. South Aiken, idle on Wednesday, stands at 4-2 with four games to go, including dates with B-C and Dreher.
There was plenty of action in the first six innings of the game before the pitchers took control. The score was tied at 6-6 after B-C’s James Hall laced a run-scoring single in the top of the sixth inning.
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That was it for the scoring until the top of the 15th when sophomore Chase Shelton opened the frame with a single against Blue Devils hurler Alex Wilcox. Shelton moved to second on a ground out off the bat of Austin Harris, got to third on a wild pitch and raced home with the game-winning run on a passed ball.
Neither starting pitcher was particularly effective. B-C’s Jeremy Brazzell lasted five innings, and Dreher’s Bud Jeter went seven. The bullpen work, however, was outstanding. Wilcox pitched seven shutout innings before the Bearcats used base running efficiency to finally prevail. Michael Gilroy tossed seven shutout innings in relief of Brazell, fanning 12 and allowing just two hits. Alex Nettles took care of the last three innings, and emerged with the win. Nettles served up just one hit and fanned four.
Shelton and Kenyatta Castleberry had RBIs in the second inning as B-C took a 2-1 lead. The Bearcats moved within 5-4 in the fifth with two runs. Brazzell lead off with a single, and eventually scored on a bad throw on a double steal with Stephens, who later pulled off a dramatic steal of home with two outs and two strikes on the batter.
“Sometimes you have to roll the dice,” said Hucks.
It was a gratifying win for B-C, which dropped a 1-0 decision at home to the Blue Devils on March 20. In that game, Dreher tagged out two Bearcats at the plate to negate a brilliant pitching effort by Hall.