SHEBOYGAN – Brian Brown may have shown a bit of the jitters in his first varsity start.
But they didn’t last long.
After giving up two runs in the first inning, the junior lefty retired eight straight batters and surrendered just one hit the rest of the way in leading Oshkosh North to a 3-2 victory in the second game of a doubleheader split with Sheboygan South at a sun-drenched Wildwood Athletic Park on Saturday.
“Brian was pretty impressive,” Oshkosh North coach Troy Schaefer said. “He pitched with great composure, just attacked their hitters. Really just showed great composure like he has been waiting for this moment.
“I’m really proud of him because he’s put in a look of work so it’s really nice to see him have success.”
Brown allowed just four hits and a walk in his varsity baseball debut. He fanned 10, including striking out the side in bottom of the second inning.
That came after he allowed three hits and two runs in the bottom of the first.
“After the first inning, after I gave up the two runs, I settled down and I found the zone and that worked out for me,” Brown said. “I found the zone and pounded it.”
Following Dylan Callahan’s two-out RBI-single in the first for South, Brown struck out four straight, retired the Redwings in order in the third and then fanned the first batter of the fourth inning.
Callahan collected his second single of the game in the fourth, but South would not get another hit the rest of the way. The Redwings only other baserunner was Brown’s lone walk in the sixth inning.
“I have a lot of confidence because I know we have one of the best defenses in the state. I know I have guys behind me that are going to pick me up,” Brown said. “No matter what, I knew we were going to come back and I knew we were going to win the game. That was in the back of my mind.”
The Spartans stranded five runners in the first three innings, but was able to push a run across in the fourth on a Sheboygan South error.
Still in the inning, Sam Hawley — who was 2-for-3 with a walk and stole three bases — delivered a two-out, run-scoring single that evened the game at 2.
“Sam is just a competitor. He’s a baseball guy. He competes so hard,” Schaefer said. “The guy can play everything and is a great leader for our baseball team.”
The game stayed even until the top of the seventh, when North took its first lead of the game.
Alex Hintze led off with a single, stole second and moved to third on a ground out by Aaron Roth, which was the second out of the inning. Alex Koch then delivered a drive to the fence in left-center for a double, that easily scored Hintze for a 3-2 lead.
“It was a clutch hit in a clutch moment. I thought for a second the left-fielder was going to make a play on it, but it just kept carrying. He really squared up on it nice,” Schaefer said. “Alex Koch has been really hitting the ball really well. He’s done a nice job coming out this year swinging the stick.”
Brown sealed the win, retiring the Redwings in order — including two strikeouts — to secure the split.
The seventh inning in the nightcap was the direct opposite of the opener for the Spartans.
With the score tied at 4 — North had scored a run in the sixth to even things up – the Spartans got a runner on in the top of the frame, but couldn’t push around the go-ahead run.
The Redwings got runners on first and third with one out in the bottom of the inning and earned the win on an Alex Feudner sacrifice fly.
“The first game we had a moment to put some pressure on them in the seventh inning but we didn’t put up a run and lost, unfortunately,” Schaefer said. “But the kids were resilient in Game 2. They fought hard both games.”
Sheb. South 5, Osh. North 4
Osh. North…300 001 0 – 4 6 1
Sheb. South…003 010 1 – 5 9 1
WP: Connor Harrison (3 BBs, 7 Ks). LP: Not available.
Leading hitters: SS: AJ Guitierrez 2×4, Matt Miller 2×4, Dylan Callahan HR.
Osh. North 3, Sheb. South 2
Osh. North…000 200 1 – 3 6 0
Sheb. South…200 000 0 – 2 4 2
WP: Brian Brown (1 BB, 10 Ks). LP: AJ Gutierrez (4 BBs, 4 Ks).
Leading hitters: ON: Alex Koch 2×4, 2B; Sam Hawley 2×3. SS: Dylan Callahan 2×3.
Steve Clark: (920) 426-6659 or email@example.com