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By Dean Barker
The Montezuma Braves utilized a six-run fourth and a stellar pitching performance from Lance Tate to defeat the Broadway Bruins 6-2 on Friday, June 16. With the road win, the Braves move to 5-5 on the year, while the Bruins fall to 5-4.
“Every time he (Lance Tate) gets on the mound and starts the game for us, we know we’ve got a really good opportunity, and that encourages our guys at the plate,” Braves head coach Chris Rush said. “It gives them some confidence in what they can do, so I think all of tonight, we just put everything together.”
It was a special night for Montezuma, who retired their late assistant coach Ronnie Brunk’s #30 after the game. Brunk died a year ago Thursday, and the Braves were notified of his passing at Broadway’s field.
“A year ago, it was a rough day here, so it was huge to be able to wear that number and come out and perform like we did, come out and just have fun,” Kyle Armstrong said. Armstrong wore #30 in honor of Brunk. “That’s what Ronnie was all about. He loved the game of baseball, and he always had fun.”
Lance Tate got the win for the Braves to improve to 2-1, pitching seven shutout innings with just two hits (the only two base runners he’d allow), no walks and nine strikeouts. Tate was perfect through four innings, and didn’t allow anyone to go further than second base all night. Adam Dressler gave up two earned runs in a third of an inning on three hits with no walks and no strikeouts. Derek Ryan pitched a scoreless inning and two thirds with no hits or walks and two strikeouts.
“Tonight was one of those nights where everything was working,” Tate said. “Having the defense we had behind us, that’s also a big key, too. That’s a great win, and coming out and hitting the ball early, getting on top, having those runs behind you is always good (when you’re) pitching.
Bumby VanMeter took the loss for the to fall to 0-1, giving up six earned runs on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts in three and two thirds innings. Brayden Collier pitched pitched three and a third scoreless innings on two hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Dalton Benson pitched two scoreless innings with one hit, one walk and no strikeouts.
After three innings of no-hit baseball for both teams, JT Stevenson broke the ice with a two run single to right. Kyle Armstrong would do the same to make it 4-0, and a two run double from Isaac Sumpter made it a 6-0 game, at which point VanMeter was pulled for Collier.
“When we get going and keep them down, it’s kind of hard to stop us once we get rolling,” Gavin Rush said.
Back to back triples from Carl Keenan and James Sibert would get the Bruins on the board in the bottom of the eighth, and Grant Landis would double to make the score 6-2. Ozzie Torres was hit to put the tying run on deck, but the Bruins were unable to capitalize.
The Braves had six runs on eight hits with no errors and six runners left on. Armstrong and Isaac Sumpter were both 1-5 with two RBIs. Luke Olimpio and Dylan Rankin were both 1-5. JT Stevenson was 2-4 with two RBIs. Gavin Rush was 1-2 with a walk. Tyler Smith was 1-3.
The Bruins scored two runs on five hits with three errors and four runners stranded. Keenan, Austin Whetzel and Ethan Burgreen were all 1-4. Landis was 1-3 with an RBI, and Sibert was 1-1 with an RBI.
The Braves will travel to the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks on Saturday, June 17 at 7:30 pm.
The Bruins will host a double header against the Clover Hill Bucks on Saturday, June 17 starting at 5 pm. To sweep the first place Bucks, Bruins head coach Bryce Strawderman says his team will need to perform better on the mound.
“We need two quality starts, we’ve got our number one and number two (pitchers) going tomorrow,” Strawderman said. “Just being able to put together quality starts, (and) limit free bases.”
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