BRUSLY — Brusly coach Tait Dupont knew he had a good baseball team after going 26-2 to start the season and having a strong hold on the top spot in the Class 3A power rankings.
But after defeating University High 3-2 on Saturday, the 2016 Panthers are the best team in school history — at least when it comes to most wins in a season.
“I just hope we get a whole bunch more and make it to where the record is unbeatable,” Dupont said. “We just have to keep it going. That’s just one milestone. We want to win a district championship and we want to try to win in the playoffs.”
The Panthers (27-2, 5-0) are a little closer to their goal of a district title with a win over District 6-3A rival U-High (17-9, 4-1), even if that win wasn’t as commanding as Dupont would have liked.
Brusly scored its go-ahead run in the fifth inning only after Cubs starting pitcher Brooks Southall walked four consecutive batters.
Panthers third baseman Brady Richardson just happened to be the game-winning walk, pushing teammate John Blanchard across the plate.
Richardson has been dominant in bases-loaded situations this season, including a bases-loaded RBI single in the third inning on Saturday, but knew both teams’ pitching staffs were struggling to find the strike zone.
“We sat back because we knew (Southall) had a good curveball,” Richardson said. “But once we knew he wasn’t throwing it for a strike and he started struggling and moving to the fastball, we started hitting the ball more.”
Southall’s day was finished after walking in the winning run and walking three batters in the previous four innings.
Brusly starting pitcher Evan Daigle walked five and hit two batters.
Between both teams, there were 16 walks and four hit by pitches, compared to only six total hits.
Despite losing, the Cubs finished the day outhitting the Panthers 3-2.
Southall (3-2) was credited with the loss after allowing three runs on three hits, while Brusly relief pitcher Tyler Theriot earned the win.
Southall did get one of those runs back, though, when he hit what was then a game-tying RBI single in the fourth inning.
Daigle finished with no runs on one hit and four strikeouts in three innings.
“There was definitely a different vibe in the atmosphere today,” said U-High coach Justin Morgan. “I think when you have that, it’s about who can stay poised the longest, and that’s why you saw some walks mixed in there.
“Then again, you also have good hitters coming up, and they have something to do with those walks, as well.”