By Robert Wilson
Madison Central senior left-handed pitcher-right fielder and Auburn signee Beau Bryans didn’t have his best day on the mound, but he made up for it and more at the plate Saturday afternoon.
Bryans cranked out two home runs, two singles, had six runs batted in and scored three runs to lead defending MSHAA Class 6A state champion Madison Central to a 15-3 victory over Germantown in the third game of the first 6A, Region 4 series this week.
Madison Central improved to 11-6 overall and 2-1 in region play and won for the ninth time in the last 11 games. Germantown dropped to 9-5 and 1-2 in region play.
Germantown took advantage of seven Madison Central errors for a 9-3 victory Thursday night at Germantown in the first game between the two Madison County rivals. Only one of Germantown’s runs were earned. Also, Germantown senior right-hander and Pearl River Community College commitment J.P. Robertson allowed just four hits and struck out nine in six innings.
Madison Central senior right-hander and Mississippi State signee Austin Tommasini threw a two-hitter with eight strikeouts in six innings to lead the Jaguars to an 11-1 win Friday night at Madison to even the series at one to one.
Then came the third game Saturday afternoon at Germantown.
Germantown scored two runs in the bottom of the first to take a 2-1 lead and chased Bryans after his fifth walk with two outs in the second. But Madison Central scored 11 runs off to three Germantown pitchers in the top of the third – Bryans hit a three-run home run and an RBI single and senior catcher and MSU signee Ross Highfill hit an RBI double to key the big inning – and took a 12-2 lead. Junior pitchers Thomas Nichols and Matt Birdsong combined for 3 1/3 innings of relief and allowed only one hit and one run to keep Germantown from threatening a comeback.
“I felt like we played one of our most complete games on Saturday,” Madison Central coach Patrick Robey said. “Obviously, our relief pitchers did a good job of stopping the bleeding. Our hitters did a good job at the top and bottom of the lineup. Three games in three days in tough on any high school team’s pitching staff. We just want to play better each week.”
“After Thursday’s game, we knew we couldn’t afford to make seven errors and still be able to win,” said Bryans, who hit his first two homers of the season Saturday. “So, Friday before the game, Coach Robey was talking about how we all needed to let loose and just have fun and play how we know how to play. That’s what we did. Friday night’s game obviously gave everyone some confidence and that carried over into today’s game as well, which led to a great team win.”
Highfill had two doubles, leadoff hitter, senior centerfielder and Southern Miss signee Jake Cook had two singles and scored two runs, junior first baseman Reed McCrillis had two singles and sophomore designated hitter and Southern Miss commitment Chase Russell scored two runs.
“I felt like we had a good game plan going into the game,” Germantown coach Brian Hardy said. “We knew we needed to get in their bullpen early and we were able to do that. The one thing we didn’t plan for was giving up 11 runs in the third inning. So, hats off to them and we will try to bounce back next week.”