By Scott Mitchell
Baseball players and fans arrived at the Brookhaven College baseball field March 2 and braved the frigid winds and bright sun to enjoy a baseball-filled day. The Brookhaven Bears baseball team played a doubleheader against the North Lake College Blazers. The Bears defeated the Blazers 4-1 the day before, giving the team momentum as it prepared for the doubleheader.
The first game began at noon with cold winds blowing. The Bears played as if oblivious to the conditions. “The weather did not have any effect on me or the team,” Bears pitcher Brice Springer said. The Bears started the game strong, recovering from multiple steal attempts in the first inning and a Blazers run in the second by scoring two runs batted in by Bears outfielder and pitcher Clay Halton.
Brookhaven’s pitching was mechanically consistent, only slightly slumping in the fourth after walking the Blazers to a run. After a pitching change, the Bears regained footing to score two more runs due to some strong hitting in the fifth. The Blazers were unable to gain any scoring foothold due to Brookhaven’s defense as the first game ended in a score of 4-2.
Following a brief rest and meal break, both teams entered the field with renewed vigor. Victory in the first game had not made the Bears lax going into the second nor reduced the Blazers’ desire to win. The winds still blew as the Bears attempted to maintain their strong defense from the previous game.
It was apparent early on that North Lake came into the second game more hardened than it was in the first. North Lake’s pitching was more consistent and its defense managed to keep the score neck-and-neck for the majority of the game. After some contested missed calls, the Bears players found themselves in a one-run deficit. Brookhaven quickly rallied to score another run, tying the game at four until the seventh inning. A sacrifice fly hit by Bears outfielder Adonys Wright drove the Bears to the second victory of the day, ending the game in a score of 5-4.
Brookhaven baseball head coach Brandon Rains said of the pitching staff in an email: “Hansen pitched 8 2/3 innings and allowed three earned runs, 10 hits and no walks while striking out five.”
Regarding the team’s preparation, Brookhaven pitcher Ryan Flynn said, “With the way that our last weekend went, we wanted to start fresh.” After losing two games to Eastfield College on the weekend of Feb. 23, Flynn said, “We prepared a little bit harder because of how bad we ourselves took our loss against Eastfield.”
Springer said, “Our strengths in game one were the pitchers throwing strikes, the defense playing well and the hitters doing their jobs when it was their turn. In game two [they] were pretty much the same.”
The victories over the Blazers propelled the Bears into a tie for first place in the Metro Athletic Conference after only two weeks of season play. The Bears also maintained a home winning streak, extending it to six games undefeated.
Springer said: “I cannot wait to see what the season has in store for us. It is going to be a fun ride. I am confident in the team’s performance this past weekend. Our team motto this year has been ‘be resilient.’ We had to be in that second game because we got down a little bit early, but we fought hard and ended up sweeping North Lake.”
The next game is at 1 p.m. Thursday, March 14, against