Kennard Tigers Defeat Brookeland, Advance to Regionals
By Greg Ritchie
KENNARD – It looked at one point as if the Kennard Tiger baseball team might have to play a third game in their series against the Brookeland Wildcats in the semi-regional games but good defense and an early start helped the Tigers take the series in two.
The games were played at Nacodoches High School where Tiger fans made their presence known and their voices heard. The Messenger was able to speak with Kennard Baseball Coach Blake Wallace and some of the players before the game who although confident, were working on a strategy to defend against the bunts and “small ball” playing style of the Wildcats. See accompanying story in today’s newspaper.
In the first game of the series played Thursday, May 18, the Tigers were able to hold on for a close win with a final score of 4-3.
The Tigers got on the board in the first inning. Keyton Lumbreraz’s sac fly scored one run for before the Tigers pulled away for good with another run in the fourth inning when Jaden Kulms tripled on a 2-1 count, getting the RBI.
Kulms led Kennard to victory on the mound surrendering three runs on four hits over seven innings, striking out 13 with no walks.
Landon Smith, pitching for Brookeland, allowed five hits and two runs over five and two-thirds innings, striking out two.
Kennard totaled eight hits in the game: Kulms and Elijah Dowdy each racked up multiple hits as Kulms led with three hits in four at bats.
Hoping to put the Wildcats away in two and come home victorious for their Saturday night high school graduation, the second game Friday, May 19 was going all the Tigers’ way until Brookeland was able to tie it up, leading the Tigers to dig deep and steal bases in order to fight back and win, 5-4.
The game was tied at four with Kennard batting in the top of the seventh when Jagger Crawford singled on a 1-2 count, scoring the go-ahead run.
Brookeland scored three runs in the fifth inning on a error by Sammy Lundquist.
The Tigers got things moving in the first inning as Ashton Kammer drew a walk, scoring one run.
Brookeland evened things up at four in the bottom of the fifth inning when Landon Smith grounded out, scoring one run.
Lumbreraz took the win for the Tigers after going six and two-thirds innings, allowing four runs on three hits and striking out nine. Kulms threw one-third of an inning in relief out of the bullpen, recording the last out to earn the save for Kennard.
Cade Morgan started the game for Brookeland. The righthander surrendered four runs on two hits over five and a third innings, striking out eight
Tristan Burgess, Kammer, and Crawford each collected one hit for the Tigers. Liam McMinn led Kennard with two stolen bases, as they ran wild on the base paths with seven steals in the game.
Kennard will next face Leverett’s Chapel in the regional finals next week. Stay tuned to The Messenger for exact game days and times once they are determined.
Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]