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Hub City Wheels leave treads on Brookhaven

The Hub City Wheels of Hattiesburg produced a pair of strongshowings at the plate Tuesday night. They swept a Cotton StateLeague doubleheader from the Brookhaven Brakemen, winning theopener 6-2 and the nightcap 10-9 on Moyer Field.

The Brakemen (11-10), sponsored by the Brookhaven OrthopedicCenter, resume play Thursday, meeting the Clinton Bluff for adoubleheader at Mississippi College. The first game starts at 5p.m.

Brookhaven plays the Rankin County Rednecks at Pearl High Schoolon Friday and hosts Clinton Saturday for a doubleheader, startingat 5. On Sunday, Hattiesburg returns to Brookhaven for a 2 p.m.game.

Brakemen field manager Pete Young was disappointed by thesetbacks. “It was a terrible night. Our guys battled and never gaveup.

“Some of our pitchers are going to have to step up,” Youngcontinued. “They get ahead in the count but they have troublefinishing off the batters. We are getting hit pretty hard.”

Young said fatigue hurt his team. “We had a doubleheader(Monday) while (Hattiesburg) had a rainout. They were fresh.”

The Hub City Wheels, under the direction of William CareyCollege coach Bobby Halford, improved their record to 12-8. Theyhad a total of 19 hits in the twinbill.

“We got rained out last night so we were fresher,” said Halford.”It was a good matchup. We have a bunch of young kids who need toplay.”

Hattiesburg 6, Brookhaven 2

In the opener, Hattiesburg got a complete game frompitcher Jeff Lacher, a freshman right-hander from MississippiState. Lacher, a Hattiesburg product, struck out 5 batters, walked2 and scattered 5 hits.

The Wheels got a 2-run, first-inning homer from juniorfirst baseman Scott Merkich, an Ole Miss product. They also got 2hits from catcher Drew Clinkscales of MemphisUniversity.

Chris Kennedy started on the mound for Brookhaven andwas charged with the loss. He gave up 3 runs on 3 hits, strikingout 1 batter and walking 1.

Chuckie Stracener replaced Kennedy in the fourth and wasrelieved by Justin Entrekin in the sixth. Stracener allowed 3 runson one 1 hit, fanning 2 and walking 2 as the Brakemen committed 4errors.

Two singles by Britt Hederman led Brookhaven’sattack.

Hattiesburg 10, Brookhaven 9

The Brakemen started strong in the finale, leading 2-0and 3-1 before Hattiesburg rallied. Brookhaven overcame a 7-3deficit and led 9-8 in the seventh but the Wheels rallied for 2runs and secured the sweep.

In the seventh, Merkich led off with a double. Reliefpitcher Chris Davis nearly had the Brakemen out of the inning but a2-out fielding error by Hederman at third base allowed Merkich toscore the tying run.

A single by designated hitter Michael Pierce droppedinto right field. Chip Bilderback, who reached on the error, scoredthe winning run on a passed ball, making it 10-9.

Brookhaven left the tying and winning runs on base inthe bottom of the seventh.

The Brakemen were limited to 6 hits, 3 of them comingfrom the bat of shortstop Chris Dunn.

Nick Smith started on the mound for Brookhaven and wasreplaced b Doug Atkins in the fifth with the score tied 3-3 and 2runners on base. Atkins hit Merkich with a pitch to load the bases.Antoin Gray delivered a 3-RBI double to the left-center field fencefor a 6-3 Hattiesburg lead.

Brookhaven regained the lead in the sixth. The Brakemenscored 4 runs on 2 hits and 4 Hattiesburg errors to lead 9-8. Dunnscored the go-ahead run as Hattiesburg catcher Chris Mooreoverthrew second base on Dunn’s steal and centerfielder ScottO’Neal’s hurried throw to third was wild, allowing Dunn to racehome.