BROOKSVILLE – Mason County was able to put the pressure on Monday, getting off to a 2-0 start after two and a half innings of play against Bracken County in the 39th District Baseball Tournament Semifinals.
Then the rain came and put a halt to the continuation of the game for nearly 48 hours. Upon restart Wednesday at Glacier Field in Brooksville, the Royals continued to put the pressure on, took advantage of the Polar Bears’ miscues and ran away with an 8-1 victory to advance to the district championship an hour later in the day against St. Patrick.
Bracken committed five errors in the contest, resulting in five unearned runs for the Royals, and that’s all pitcher Malkolm Devine would need. Devine pitched a complete game, four-hitter with his only blemish on a home run by Tanner Fisher in the sixth.
“I just went with the flow, did what they told me to do and got the job done,” Devine said. “The offense got me some security, so I knew if I went out there and threw strikes we would win.”
Devine also did work with his bat, recording four hits, two of them doubles and scoring three runs.
Already with a 2-0 lead upon Wednesday’s restart, the Royals added three in the bottom of the third, taking advantage of two Polar Bear errors, including the first play of the day.
“That set the tone. The whole game we had several plays that should have been made and we just didn’t make them,” Polar Bears coach Josh Cummins said. “You can’t give a good team like that seven, eight extra outs in a game and expect to win.”
Devine scored as Carson Brammer reached on an error, Dylan Mitchell drove in a run with a single and Zach Drury recorded his second RBI of the game via ground out to make it 5-0 after three.
Mason County would add three more in the fourth to make it 8-0, putting the game out of reach. Two more Bracken errors proved to be detrimental as Trey Cracraft scored on an error, J’Kari Gause followed with a two-run single putting the seventh and eighth runs across.
“When they commit errors, that’s something you have to capitalize on and good things will happen. We were fortunate to do that today,” Royals coach Tom Posey said.
Devine continued to work on the hill, retiring seven of eight batters from the fourth through the sixth inning. Tanner Fisher’s home run to start the sixth was the only runner to reach. Fisher playing his last game as a Polar Bear, is just one of two seniors on the Polar Bears roster.
“He’s meant a whole lot to this program. Him and Andrew Jefferson we’re losing both of them, both great kids, great attitudes all year and very bright futures for both of them. They’re good kids, do things the right way, treat people the right way and sky is the limit for both of them,” Cummins said.
Bracken looked to make things interesting in the top of the seventh as they loaded the bases with no outs, but Devine got three straight batters to fly out to the shallow outfield to end the threat and the contest.
“Even on Monday we had runners on in each of the first three innings. Yesterday in the cage we were hitting it well, we just couldn’t come up with the big one or timely one,” Cummins said.
The loss ends Bracken County’s season at 11-11, the first under Josh Cummins.
“I didn’t know what to expect coming in. I’m proud of the guys because from February 15 to May 23 we’re a heck of a lot better,” Cummins said. “Only losing two, so we’ll have a lot back and ready to get back at it.”
Mason County improved to 9-11 with the victory.
2B- (MC) Devine 2
HR- (BC) Fisher
RBI- (BC) Fisher (MC) Gause 2, Drury 2, Mitchell, Selby, Brammer
LOB- Bracken 7, Mason 7
WP- Devine. LP- Tad Fisher.
Records: Bracken County 11-11, Mason County 9-11