By SAM McGAW
Strong wind gusts blowing towards the first-base line had little effect on Brentwood pitcher Caleb Pearson Wednesday night.
The junior right-hander recorded 10 strikeouts in five innings to help deliver a 5-3 series-clinching win against visiting Centennial.
“We just wanted to keep on rolling,” Pearson said. “We knew the wind was going to be a factor. (Coach Bill Moore) told us to keep the pitches low. We knew when it was in the air it was going to carry somewhere, so we were trying to avoid that. I think we handled that pretty well.”
Brentwood (12-5, 8-4 District 11-AAA) has won 12 of its last 14 games after starting the season 1-3. Centennial fell to 7-8 overall and 5-7 in league play.
“Not scoring early hurt us,” Centennial head coach Rob Baughman said. “We had the bases loaded a couple of times. That’s really been our Achilles heel – just putting together hits. We can’t string anything together. We’re struggling. We get runners in scoring position and we can’t get a hit. That’s the tough part.”
Pearson battled to keep a 2-0 lead intact in the fifth inning. With the bases loaded and no outs, he struck out two straight batters and forced a groundout to close his night unblemished.
“He showed huge resolve,” Brentwood head coach Bill Moore said about the inning. “He cowboyed up and said ‘I’m going after them.’ He did a great job of attacking and putting us on his back that inning.”
An RBI line drive to right-center by Carson Shacklett and a two-run double by Kaden Dreier pushed the Bruins ahead 5-0 in the sixth.
“We felt like we could hunt some pitches that we were looking for,” Moore stated. “Our approaches were good really all night, but near the end we really tried to hone in on what we were looking for.”
Shacklett and Dreier finished with two RBI apiece.
An RBI double by Bradford Mills and an RBI by Billy Creger helped cut Brentwood’s lead to 5-3 in the sixth, but a groundout at first ended the Cougars’ rally.
Luke Reidy threw one strikeout and allowed one hit 1.33 innings to close the game on the mound for the Bruins.
Centennial hosts Amos Alonzo Stagg (Ill.) on Friday.
Brentwood hosts Amos Alonzo Stagg (Ill.) on Saturday.