BROWNSBORO -- Brownsboro's fans got to see a blowout Tuesday. There's no doubt Van took the suspense out of the game by committing error after error.

At the end of the day, however, it didn't so much matter that Van's infield committed six errors. Nor that the battery allowed four pitches to hit the backstop with six runners on base in a 7-0 district-opening decision.

What mattered was Bears senior starting pitcher Jake Conner fanned 11 batters versus seven baserunners allowed in a complete game shutout, that Conner's defense did not allow an error the other way, and that three runs were earned.

Brownsboro controlled most of what can be controlled in a baseball game and reaped the benefits. It has momentum at the front end of league play.

"Right now, we're 8-8," Bears coach Josh Turner said. "There's been definite highs and lows. We've played a pretty decent schedule, I feel like, that prepares us for this. We've had some decent wins and some losses that I wish we could go back and play again. But that stuff happens. Hopefully, it prepared us for the district schedule we're now in."

Brownsboro's Payden Green makes a infield play.
Second baseman Payden Green, who batted 1 for 3 and scored once on two running opportunities, fields a first-inning pop out.

Brownsboro (1-0 in the district) missed some early opportunities that otherwise would have allowed it to ultimately run-rule Van (5-6, 0-1) out of town. It stranded four runners in scoring position, and six runners in total, through the first three innings despite three Vandals errors and a passed ball.

Conner, though, he sizzled after allowing four runners aboard through the first three innings. Even against adversity early, he managed to end the first two innings on strikeouts looking and recorded two third-inning strikeouts ahead of inducing a fly out with the leadoff man on first base.

The Bears didn't let Van's fourth error and the first wild pitch with Kelton Jay on the bags go to waste. Conner, the nine-hole hitter, got a ground ball to skirt the Vandals' pitcher and second baseman for a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth.

Two Vandals errors, a passed ball, a wild pitch and four Brownsboro hits in the fifth inning effectively ended the game.

Austin Fout, Payden Green and Bryce Smith all reached base safely with no outs.

Fout's courtesy runner, Miles Moore, came home on a double by Green down the left field line.

Green scored when a pitchout sailed over Van's first baseman's head. Smith crossed the plate on contact by Jonathan Saulet and a fielding error by the shortstop.

Back at the top of the order, Christian Reeves lined a ball through the left infield gap to score Saulet. Reeves made it a 6-0 game when two-hole hitter Carson Booth lined through the exact same gap on a full count.

Saulet earned an RBI in the sixth for the 7-0 lead. He scored Fout with a one-out ground ball.

Conner ran across the University Interscholastic League's 110-pitch rule while facing the final batter of the night, but he was allowed to keep going since the at-bat started at under 110 pitches. He got a strikeout on his 114th pitch.

"I felt like I was having trouble finding the zone early in the game, and my arm wasn't feeling the greatest," Conner said. "I fought through it, finally found the zone and started to throw a lot of strikes. I felt better toward the end of the game. We were hitting in the bottom of the sixth. Coach told me I had 14 pitches left. In my head, I just knew I had to throw strikes, fill the count and hit the zone."

Van gets to return home and will face Wills Point in its second district game Friday. Wills Point fell to Mabank elsewhere in league play.

Brownsboro stays at home for Friday's meeting with Emory Rains. Rains lost to Canton in its first district contest.

"This feels good," Conner said. "I don't know what happened to them tonight, but Van's got good potential. I just feel like we come out and we're ready to play. As long as we stay hooked up and play as a team, we're going to be pretty hard to beat."

Brownsboro's Kelton Jay looks to advance to third base.
Brownsboro's Kelton Jay takes a lead at second base just ahead of Jake Conner's go-ahead RBI in the fourth inning.

Brownsboro 7, Van 0

District 13-4A
At Brownsboro High School

Van                        000    000    0    --    0    4    6
Brownsboro           000    151    X    --    7    9    0

Pitchers and catchers

  • Van: Sean Beasley, Casey Morrow (5), Bret Hale (6) and Jacoby Bogue
  • Brownsboro: Jake Conner and Austin Fout

WP -- Conner
LP -- Beasley


Brownsboro: Payden Green

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