By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (April 10, 2015) — Maddux Conger was dominant on the hill and delivered the game-winning hit from the plate to lift Stephenville to a 3-2 win over Brownwood in a District 6-4A duel at James T. Young Baseball Field Friday evening.
Conger recorded 16 strikeouts in the complete-game effort and shut out Brownwood over the final six innings after an error led to two unearned runs in the top of the first.
The Yellow Jackets trailed 2-0 and had only one runner reach third base until the bottom of the fifth, when they finally broke through against Brownwood southpaw Dylan Agan.
Kaegun Williams was hit by a pitch that brushed the sleeve of his jersey to start the inning, and Ben Martin beat out a one-out single moments later. A wild pitch moved Williams to third and Martin to second before Alex Jimenez tied the game by lining a 2-run single to right.
Jimenez advanced to second as Brownwood tried to make a play at the plate, and reached third on a deep fly out to right by Brock Morrison. That brought up Conger, who put himself in position to be the winning pitcher with a hard single to left brought Jimenez across the plate.
Brownwood looked to even the score in the top of the sixth when a hitter reach on an error with two outs and tried to score from there on a double to the left-field corner. Josh Olivan was right on target with his throw home, however, and catcher Ben Martin applied the tag in front of the plate to preserve the narrow lead.
That was the last chance the Lions would get as Conger retired the side in order in the top of the seventh, sealing the win and giving the Jackets sole possession of second place a game back of Abilene Wylie midway through the 6-4A race. Brownwood is another game back in third.
Stephenville hosts Ranger College (JV) at 6 p.m. Tuesday, then resumes district play at Mineral Wells on Friday.
Brownwood began the scoring with a pair of unearned runs in the top of the first. The Lions did have three hits in the inning, beginning with a slow roller down the first base line for an infield hit. An error kept the inning alive before the remaining hits, a single to right and a double to the fence in center, brought in the unearned runs.
Bradley Morrison doubled down the line in right then reached third on a wild pitch to begin the bottom of the second, but a fly out to shallow left and a pair of strikeouts ended the threat. It was also Stephenville’s last hit until the bottom of the fourth, as only one of the next 10 batters reached and that was on on a walk.
Conger was simply overpowering with lots of movement and a 90-plus mile per hour fastball. He had a stretch where he struck out seven straight and nine out of 10.
While Conger’s performance was tough to match, Agan was more than effective with 10 strikeouts for Brownwood. Each pitcher allowed six hits.