MILTON — It took more than six hours, but after 19 innings and great defense on both sides, Brookwood and Milton earned the right to play a Game 3 Saturday after splitting Friday’s doubleheader.
The Broncos took Game 1, 3-0, in nine innings, while the Eagles won 2-1 in 10 innings in Game 2.
“It was a really stressful night,” said Brookwood head coach Rick Howard. “But you have to tip your hat to both teams. Both gave it all they had.”
The big hit of the first game came from Nick Fonseca, who hit a two-run triple in the top of the ninth.
Game 1 also saw Thomas Byelick throw 102 pitches in eight innings as he picked up the win with four strikeouts.
Brookwood nearly had a sweep, leading 1-0 in the top of the seventh in Game 2. However, an RBI double by Alex Cease tied the game at 1-1, keeping the game going.
“Their guy hit a good pitch,” Howard said. “That’s just the way baseball goes.”
Fonseca’s two-run triple in the ninth came after Jonathan White and Zach Moon hit back-to-back singles. With both players being pinch-run for, the Broncos were set up with speed on the basepaths, which Fonseca took advantage of.
His hit sliced away from Milton left fielder Sean Ryan Brophy, who made a failed attempt at a diving catch. Pinch runners Matthew Griffin and Mason Leblanc scored the two runs for the Broncos.
Fonseca later scored on a Brock Baughcum bunt that was thrown past the first baseman.
Milton was unable to get anything going in the bottom half of the inning, with Erik Petersen hitting into a game-ending double play.
Early on, pitching and defense was the story for both teams.
Brookwood had runners on second and third with two outs in the first inning, but White grounded out to end the inning.
Milton picked up its first hit of the game in the fourth with two outs. But a groundout by Petersen ended the inning.
The Broncos nearly pushed a run across in the eighth when Baughcum reached third with two outs. However, Jordan Dykes flied out to end the threat.
The Eagles then came close to ending the game in their half of the eighth as they had runners on first and second with one out. But again, the defense came up big for Brookwood as Jack Thompson hit into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
“I’m really proud of our kids’ effort,” Howard said. “They faced a tough pitching staff with a lot of great arms.”
The second game was equally as exciting from a defensive standpoint as neither team gave way until Brookwood scored in the bottom of the fifth inning.
A single by Vince Moss with one out got things going with Collin Cotter coming on as a pinch runner. Baughcum grounded into a fielder’s choice to put runners on first and second, with the pair pulling off a double steal to get into scoring position.
Tre Lawrence hit an RBI infield single off the third baseman’s glove, allowing Cotter to score.
In the top of the seventh, Andrew Wood walked and took second on a bunt for Milton. Cease’s double tied the score. But Brookwood still nearly won the game in the bottom of the seventh.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Milton got Jonathan White to strikeout, moving the game into extra innings.
Then, in the 10th inning, Brophy scored on a double by Thompson down the right-field line, putting Milton up 2-1.
Brookwood was unable to score in the bottom half of the inning, forcing a Game 3, which is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Matt Aycock picked up a no decision, going 6 1/3 innings with four strikeouts.
“We just have to come in and let go of what happened today,” Howard said. “Tomorrow starts anew and we have to forget about the loss.”