By Scott Vanscoy (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
(Crane, MO) – The Purdy Eagles won the Class 2, District 6 title on Monday night when they run-ruled the Crane Pirates, 10-0, in six innings. This marks the fourth district title in five years for Purdy. The Eagles were led by a solid pitching performance from junior Zane Brown. Brown pitched six strong innings, allowing two hits, three walks, and striking out 11.
The game was scoreless through the first two innings. In the bottom of the third inning, sophomore shortstop Andres Aldaba drew a walk to start off the inning. Senior Kyler Propps hit a single to put men on first and third. Junior Andrew Martinez hit a one-out double, clearing the bases and putting Purdy on the board, 2-0. Senior Mason Schallert followed with a single and sophomore Osiel Aldava drew a walk, loading the bases. Crane’s Isaiah Smith looked like he was going to get out of trouble when he struck out the next batter, making two outs. With the bases loaded, Smith walked Hughlett, making the score 3-0. With bases still loaded and two outs, Brown helped his own cause by hitting a single and driving in three runs. The Eagles batted around in the inning, scoring six.
Brown was on cruise control through three but Crane managed to put two men on first and third with two outs in the fourth inning. Brown, who was in control of his pitches all night, got the third out by throwing a changeup for the backwards K.
“I was just out there trying to throw my best,” said Brown. “My curveball and my fastball were both working for me pretty well; I had trouble finding my changeup. I knew I had the best defense behind me and I knew I could trust them so I just went and threw it. They were there when I needed them. I trust my defense a lot.”
Purdy coach Joshua Hughes felt confident with Brown on the mound.
“It’s just one of those things that we knew with Zane on the mound we were going to have a chance to win,” said Hughes. “If we could get some runs we felt very confident we had a chance. If I look back, I think he’s given up three earned all year and he’s 7-1 with three saves. He’s just done a fabulous job this year for us on the mound and it continued today, throwing strikes, and getting out of jams.”
The Eagles would plate three more runs in the fourth inning on and RBI single by Martinez and a double by Schallert, driving in two. This put the Eagles one run away from the ten-run rule. They tried to score the winning run in the fifth inning when they had three base runners but could not plate any. In the bottom of the sixth, with two outs, sophomore Jacob Brown hit a liner to the outfield for a hit. Hughlett drove a double down the line, scoring Brown all the way from first base for the win.
“We had everything working tonight,” said Hughlett. “I was just looking for a hit, trying to get deep in the count, but I saw a pitch I could drive, so I drove it. Brown had the steal sign so I figured he’d be close to scoring.”
Crane loses just two seniors off of this team so Coach Bryan Harmon is optimistic for the upcoming years but playing in the SWCL it won’t be easy.
“We knew we were going to have our hands full from the start,” said Harmon. “I thought we did some things early, we threatened. I’m not sure that we would have had a shot to beat them, but baseball is a crazy game. This is the third time we’ve seen this pitcher, we’ve seen him in the conference championship game in the fall and the regular season game. He wasn’t really one of the main guys we focused on until this year and he’s done a good job. He does mix it up well and that hurts us. We’ve got to either find a way to compete with Purdy or get used to finishing second to them because they are everywhere we look, they are in our conference, now. That’s what we want, we want that tough competition.”
Coach Hughes thought his Eagles took a couple of innings to get things going.
“We capitalized on their mistakes and then got some big hits in the third inning to score those six runs,” said Hughes. “Then we just kept the pressure on, something this team’s done a really good job of. We’re not the fastest, by any means, but we get good jumps and we’re running. On the last play, Carl got a pitch he could handle and did a good job, got a double down the line to score Jacob Brown. We showed up to hit today. This is something that we’ve done all year long, this group has done a great job of hitting and we play defense and pitch, we’re pretty tough. If we’re not doing one of those things, we can be beat. If we can play defense, pitch and hit like we’ve been doing, we’ve got a chance to win ball games any night.”
Purdy 10, Crane 0
Crane 000 000 — 0
Purdy 006 301 — 10