Cougars take game one, 12-6 — Brookhaven Academy only one win away from state championship title

Published 10:28 pm Tuesday, May 15, 2018

When O’Neil Burgos came to the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning with Tanner Watts and Levi Smith on base and the Cougars trailing 4-3, everyone in the stadium knew what was possible.

Burgos hadn’t had his best at-bats in his first two plate appearances, striking out in the first inning and grounding out softly in the third.

It didn’t matter.

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The possible happened.

Burgos launched a first pitch hanging-curveball over the left field wall to give the Cougars a 6-3 lead, and Brookhaven Academy would never let Tri-County Academy back in the game as they went on to win 12-6 to take the first game of the MAIS AA State championship Tuesday.

“I wanted to go up there and be aggressive with whatever he threw me,” Burgos said. “I had two bad at-bats my first two chances, and I just wanted to get the ball onto the outfield grass to make sure that I scored a run.”

“He’s one of the best hitters that has ever come through this program,” Brookhaven Academy head coach Tyler Parvin said. “He has quick hands. There’s nobody else that I’d rather have up in that situation.”

The game, admittedly, didn’t start off the way the Cougars were hoping, as Tri-County put up four runs in the first two innings to take a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the second inning.

The Cougars would get on the board in the bottom of the second with a Tanner Watts RBI single to bring in Taylor Freeny.

The Cougars would continue the scoring in the bottom of the third inning with RBI singles from Dawson Flowers and Dawson Zumbro to cut the lead to 4-3.

After Watts and Smith both walked to open the inning, and Brady Spring lined out to left field, the moment was set for Burgos, and he delivered.

Nick Ogden belted a two-run homerun over the center field wall two batters later to extend Brookhaven Academy’s lead to 8-4.

Tri-County Academy put up four runs in the first two innings on Tanner Watts.

They didn’t score again on Watts as he went 5.2 innings and struck out nine in the process to give way to Ogden to shut the game down in the sixth and seventh innings.

Watts only allowed two baserunners over his final 3.2 innings, and he struck out six people in the final 3.2 frames.

“I was able to throw my breaking ball where I wanted more,” Watts said. “I started spotting that up, and that really helped me.”

Watts said that it was reassuring when the offense continued to pour on runs, and it gave him confidence to pitch deep into the contest.

“They really did a great job digging me out of a hole,” Watts said. “That was big for us to put up runs like we did.”

Brookhaven Academy will travel to Flora on Thursday night at 5 p.m. looking for one win to win the school’s first state championship since 2010.

Parvin said that he has to make sure that the Cougars understand that they still have work to do to win their first state championship since 2010.

“There’s not going to be a 12-6 game on Thursday,” Parvin said. “We’re going to have to come out and play well again if we want to win a state championship.”