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Cougars pounce back, win South State series in game 3 — BA falls in game 2, gets serious in 11-run series to win in game 3

The Brookhaven Academy Cougars fired off 11 runs to take a season-critical game three against the Centreville Tigers Thursday night, bouncing back from a game-two loss and winning the South State title series to advance to the MAIS championship series next week.—

The Cougars may have been down but they were not out. After falling 7-2 in the second game of the series earlier in the evening, the team’s energy changed for the final contest — the batting game was improved, and the defensive performance jumped up in quality.

“After our loss, we as a team decided that it was time to come out and leave everything out on the field” said Dawson Flowers. “We either lose and go home or win and go to state.”

Flowers was right — everything was left out on the field.

The new-found energy turned everything around for the Cougars, and all the things that needed to go right for them to win the tournament absolutely did. Base hits from BA and errors from Centreville gave the Cougars an edge and an opening to clinch the series.

“I was a little upset at the beginning of the game, to be honest. That loss took a lot out of me,” said Caston Thompson. “But once I saw that our bats and defense was starting to show up, I got up and started cheering and getting into it myself.”

The Cougars put the South State title away in a big fifth inning, scoring seven runs to extend a tight, 4-3 lead to a secure 11-3 margin. The way the offense took control of the field left many fans hopeful for a run-rule victory — two more runs would have done it. But the Cougars ultimately rode out the game comfortably with the final score.

“I told the guys at practice that we were not gonna come out and score 19 runs like we did earlier this week, and in the first game of tonight you’re gonna have to fight for everything,” said BA coach Tyler Parvin. “After the loss we had to go into the locker room and regroup and come back out on fire, and I think we achieved that.”

Assistant coach Will Gatlin said BA vs. Centreville is always a “boxing match,” and he praised Cougar seniors for setting the example in the win.

“Going into the locker room after the loss, the seniors spoke up and led the charge and set a spark underneath the rest of the players,” he said. “I think that’s what started our momentum coming into the second game. When you win against Centreville it’s because you had to fight all the way through.”

The Cougars move on from South State to the season’s final series — the MAIS 2A state championship series against Tri-County Academy. BA will host the series’ first game Tuesday night.

Story by Paden Phillips