ELIDA – Short term. Long term. Either way, Austin Brachok had it under control.
Brachok threw five innings and allowed only one unearned run when Shawnee beat Bath 3-1 in the ACME League district championship baseball game at Ed Sandy Field on Monday night.
The win sends Shawnee (18-4) to next week’s ACME League state tournament. It is the second year in a row Shawnee has come out of the losers bracket at the district to advance to state.
On Sunday, Brachok finished Shawnee’s wins over Lima Central Catholic and Bath with an inning of relief in each game.
Monday, he got the ball to start and Shawnee coach Tim Morgan was hoping to get three or four innings from him.
Shawnee got five innings from him, then Justin Fullom pitched two shutout innings to finish it.
“I was just coming out and trying to throw as many innings as I could without getting in a jam,” Brachok said.
Morgan said, “He did what we needed and then some.”
Brachok allowed five hits, struck out two and didn’t walk a batter.
Bath (11-5) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second when Bronson Best was hit by a pitch, Cam Jenkins singled and Best scored on a throwing error on a double steal.
Shawnee answered with two runs in the top of third and led the rest of the way.
Jake Sevitz started Shawnee’s third inning with a walk, Taylor Fickel doubled, then Trevor Anderson singled to center field to score both runners.
Shawnee added another run in the fifth inning when Anderson walked and Zach Peake launched a double to left-center field. Peake had three of Shawnee’s six hits.
Bath’s best threat after that came in the bottom of the fifth inning when it had runners on second base and third base with two outs, but it couldn’t get a run across the plate.
Shawnee won three games in the span of two days in the district tournament by scoring only nine runs. It didn’t produce a lot of runs on Monday, but it did get big run-scoring hits from Anderson and Peake.
“We’ve been waiting on those clutch hits. We’ve struggled hitting for the last three games. Finally the boys put it together,” Morgan said.
Shawnee and Bath played five times this summer, with Shawnee finishing the series with a 3-2 advantage.
But more importantly, Monday night’s third win over Bath sent Shawnee to state.
“It’s pretty special. It’s pretty tough,” Anderson said about coming out of the losers bracket for a second consecutive season.
Brachok said, “This was kind of like the rubber game. All the marbles were on the table.
“It’s just refusing to lose, knowing we’ve got our backs against the wall and just coming out and fighting,” he said.