Brunswick High and Glynn Academy have each had its share of problems in the field over the week prior to the series opener between crosstown rivals Monday at Wainwright Field.
The Pirates were able to quell their defensive concerns for a night and take advantage of the Terrors’ miscues to win Game 1 of the three-game set 2-0.
Both teams entered the final series of the regular season fresh off being swept in a Region 2-6A series. Brunswick committed 13 errors in three games against Effingham County, while Glynn Academy tallied 14 errors versus Richmond Hill.
But with a few days off, and the motivation of a series against a rival to determine the third and fourth seeds in the region, the Pirates played a clean game and pulled out a win.
“If you play defense behind the pitching that we’ve had all year, we give ourselves an opportunity,” said Brunswick head coach Brian Crawford. “We scratched a couple of runs across throughout the game, that really helped us out obviously.
“In games in the past, two runs hasn’t been enough, but tonight with the solid defense, it was good energy, we made a few adjustments from the last game that we played and it worked out.”
Marshall Cox got the start for the Pirates and delivered one of his best outings of the season, holding the Terrors to just two hits and two walks while striking out five in a complete-game shutout.
Caleb Hutchinson doubled for Glynn with one out in the bottom of the first, but it would be the only time the Terrors put a runner in scoring position until the fifth inning. Cox coaxed a ground out and a fly ball to left field to escape the first before retiring six straight batters and nine of the next 10.
“Marshall Cox pitched one of the best games he’s thrown all year,” Crawford said. “He’s thrown a few stellar games this year, and he’s been very, very solid for us moving on towards the end.”
Brady Davis’ lead-off walk, and Nate Hamnum’s one-out single gave Glynn a pair of runners for the first time in the contest, and a fielder’s choice pushed pinch runner Cam Gee to third, but a weak fly ball to left field ended the threat.
Brunswick didn’t fare much better at the plate against starter Henry Jamieson, who pitched a complete game with just four hits and two walks to six strikeouts, but it did just enough to capitalize on the opportunities it received.
Cox worked a four-pitch walk to load the bases for the Pirates with one out in the bottom of the first following consecutive errors by the Red Terrors on ground balls, and Kason Buie sprinted home from third to score the first run of the game on a passed ball to give Brunswick an early 1-0 lead.
The Pirates manufactured another run in the top of the fourth when Aaron Rath was hit with a pitch to lead off the frame. Nick Goff reached on an error at third base, and Connor Moore’s sacrifice bunt moved both runners up before Bryson Wilson’s ground ball to short allowed Rath to score from third.
Both of Brunswick’s runs were the result of one of the four errors Glynn Academy committed on the evening.
“We’ve got to flush it,” said Terrors head coach Trent Mongero. “We’ve been working on defense since August. It didn’t work out tonight, but we’ve got to put it past us and be ready to to show up on Wednesday.
“We’re going to get at it at practice again tomorrow.”
Aside from closing within one victory from securing the third seed in the region, the Pirates walked away from Game 1 of the series feeling more comfortable in a defensive alignment that featured Kyle Lodise at shortstop.
The Brunswick freshman tied the team high in putouts with five from his position at short without making an error.
With Isaiah Wellman set to get the nod in Game 2 for the Pirates on Wednesday at “Bud” Couch Field, Brunswick feels good about its chances to win the series as long as it can get a little more from its lineup.
“It’s a big momentum step, so we’ve got to continue grinding away,” Crawford said. “Offensively, we’ve got to give ourselves more opportunities. We’ve got to find a few more barrels with runners in scoring position.”
For Glynn, Jamieson’s performance was the lone bright spot on a night neither its offense or defense was good enough to earn a much-needed victory.
But there is still time for the Terrors to turn things around.
“One game at a time, we’ve still got a chance to win the series,” Mongero said. “It happens all the time, you lose the first one and comeback and win the next two. We’re still in control of our own destiny and we’re going to compete our rear ends off.”