BROWNWOOD — Knowing that storms could potentially hit the area, Stephenville baseball coach Justin Swenson gave Tuesday night starter Bryson Dill a simple directive.
“Pound the zone and throw strikes.”
That’s exactly what Dill did and the Yellow Jackets took a 12-0 win over Brownwood in District 6-4A play Tuesday night at Morris Southall Field.
Dill retired the first 10 batters he faced, losing his perfect game when he hit Gavin Brandstetter with a pitch in the fourth inning. He finished the game allowing two hits and a walk while striking out seven.
“He’s been very dominant this year,” Swenson said. “We had weather coming and we just wanted to play a fast game and play defense behind him. He did his job.”
Dill faced 19 batters in a complete-game effort, getting six ground ball outs to go with his seven strikeouts while throwing 13 first-pitch strikes.
As dominant as Dill was on the mound, his offense was patient at the plate.
Trace Morrison drew three walks and Reese Elston and Charlie Hughes added a pair each as the Yellow Jackets earned 11 free passes as a team. Brownwood pitchers also had four wild pitches.
“We have swung the bat well all district long,” Swenson said. “Opposing pitchers know that we can hit well and they’re throwing off-speed at all times in the count and it only just gets away from the catcher and it goes back to quality at-bats.”
Morrison started the game with a walk before being doubled off at first base when Lane West lined out to second.
Walks were a huge part of Stephenville’s second-inning success when the Yellow Jackets sent 11 batters to the plate — eight of which came up with two outs.
Dylanger Meiron drove in a run with a double and scored on a wild pitch two batters later. Corbin Poston (single) and Cutter Gray (walk) both crossed the plate on an error by Brownwood shortstop Reece Bolton.
A wild pitch then allowed Morrison to score to make it 5-0 Stephenville.
Lions starting pitcher Hunter Day lasted just three innings on the mound. He allowed six runs (three earned) and struck out four but had trouble retiring batters as he gave up six walks and three hits.
“We faced him a few weeks ago and he likes to throw a lot of off-speed (pitches) early (in the count), so we were going to make him work and throw it consistently for a strike before we were going to get aggressive,” Swenson said. “We had patient at-bats that led to scoring runs early and then we did our job on the bases.”
After Day’s night was done, six straight batters reached base safely to start the fourth inning for Stephenville.
Morrison, West, Elston and Hughes — the top four batters in the lineup — worked deep in the count and drew walks. Morrison and West both saw five pitches in their at-bat while Elston and Hughes combined for 15 pitches.
Kyle Styron followed the parade of walks with a two-run double to deep left field that made it 8-0 Yellow Jackets.
Meiron added an RBI groundout with the bases loaded before Poston delivered a run-scoring single up the middle.
A two-out rally in the fifth allowed Stephenville to extend the lead as Hughes, Styron and Case Dunavant had back-to-back-to-back doubles, the latter two allowing the former two to score.
“We are solid one through nine (in the lineup), and I’ve got 10-12 on the bench that could play for a lot of teams in this district and hit at the top of the lineup,” Swenson said. “I’m very blessed with a deep roster and it shows at the end of our lineup.”
Brownwood managed just a two-out double by Xadrian Mares in the bottom of the frame before the game ended on the run-rule.
The two squads will finish out district play on Friday night back in Brownwood as they tune-up for the postseason. Stephenville will enter the playoffs as the district champion while the Lions will be the No. 3 seed.
STEPHENVILLE 12, BROWNWOOD 0
Bryson Dill and Cutter Gray. Hunter Day, Atticus Porter (4), Byron Foster (5) and Logan Posey. W — Dill. L — Day. 2B — Stephenville: Kyle Styron 2, Charlie Hughes, Case Dunavant, Dylanger Meiron. Brownwood: Xadraian Mares.
Records — Stephenville 17-8, 10-1; Brownwood 10-10, 6-5.