Masterful mound outing by Griffin puts BA up 1-0 in playoff series

Published 8:31 am Tuesday, April 25, 2023

There’s no one on the Brookhaven Academy (17-12) roster with more postseason experience than senior left-handed pitcher Judson Griffin. The Copiah-Lincoln CC baseball signee moved up to the varsity team as a junior high student and was a key contributor on a state title team for the Cougars in 2019.

With the postseason beginning on Monday for his team with a first round series against Central Hinds Academy, it was only natural that Griffin would get the ball in the opener.

The senior leader delivered a gem by going the full seven innings and striking out 10 while scattering four hits and giving up one earned run in a 2-1 win for his Cougars over the Cougars of Central Hinds.

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Game two is scheduled for Thursday at 4:30 p.m. on BA’s home field of Williams-Gillis Ballpark. If a third and deciding game is needed, it’ll be played immediately following the conclusion of game two.

Griffin only issued four walks as he threw a total of 117 pitches.

“It was one of those games where you look at Jud and the game he pitched and you think to yourself, I’m glad this guy is on our team,” said BA head coach Caleb Upton. “I think some of his hardest pitches of the night were in the last inning. You could just see how locked in he was and how bad he wanted it. We call him our fifth-year senior because he’s got so much experience and is such a leader for us.”

The lone run for Central Hinds (9-21) came in the bottom of the first inning. The leadoff batter for CHA, Price Foil, got aboard via a single and then scored later in the frame via a sac fly.

Foil finished the night 4-of-4 and accounted for all the CHA hits in the game.

The score remained 1-0 until the bottom of top of the sixth inning.

Griffin gained first base via a walk and then later moved to second when Easton Boyte, a fellow senior and CLCC baseball signee, drew a two-out walk.

Matt Newman then singled for BA to move each runner up. Newman’s hit was the only one of the game for the Cougars from Brookhaven.

Avery Griffin was hit by a pitch, which scored his brother and tied the game at 1-1.

With the bases still loaded, BA got the game winning run via a balk by pitcher Preston Titus.

CHA starter Ryan Etheridge struck out four and didn’t give up a hit in 5.1 innings of work. Titus threw 1.2 innings and walked one while striking out three.

Central Hinds outhit BA 4-1, but two walks, a balk and a single changed the game late and it was enough for Brookhaven Academy (the No. 1 seed from District 4) to get past CHA (the No. 4 seed from District 3).

Baseball can be like that sometimes.

“The bottom line is that we didn’t hit the ball,” said Upton.

CHA is coached by former major leaguer Chad Bradford, a pitcher known for his submarine style of side-arm delivery.

“I go way back with Coach Bradford from my playing days at Hinds and their starter was a guy who had that low delivery that he does such a good job teaching,” said Upton. “That kept us off-balance, but I’m proud the way my guys kept fighting. It was tight all night, it definitely had that intensity that comes in the postseason.”

The winner of this series will move on to face the winner between Copiah Academy and Columbia Academy in the second round. Columbia won game one of that series 10-5 on Monday night.