Brautman shuts downs Dawgs
The last time the Cheney Diamond Dawgs faced defeat was Aug. 10, 2019, in the championship game of the National Baseball Congress World Series, 5-4 against the Seattle Studs.
The Newton Rebels broke that streak Thursday in Sunflower Collegiate League play at Klein-Scott Field when an Andrew Brautman home run to deep left field to lead the Rebels over the Dawgs, 6-5.
Lincoln Andrews singled to lead off the bottom of the ninth, advancing to second on a passed ball. Darius Gaston then went in to pinch run and went to third on a wild pitch. After two strikeouts, Brautman went deep on a 3-2 count to end the Dawgs’ streak.
“The sequence was fastball, fastball,” Brautman said. “I got down quick 1-1. He threw another fastball up in the zone. He threw me a slider and then another slider at my belt on a 3-2 count. I did my best to put the ball in play up the middle. I just got my bat out in front. It hit the barrel right here. It came out good for the Rebs.
“The ball wasn’t carrying a whole lot. It was good to finally get a ball that had a little bit of pop in my bat. It’s been a struggle this summer. It was exciting to get that ball up in the air and give myself a chance.”
Brautman, an Arkansas City native who will be attending the University of New Orleans in the fall, hit his second home run of the season. The Rebels bounced back from an 8-7 loss the night before in Cheney, losing a seven-run lead.
“Cheney has a loaded lineup,” Brautman said. “I know some of the players. They have good guys. They play really hard. We needed that. We needed to understand the Diamond Dawgs can be beat. We’ve had a lot of close games the last couple of weeks. Some go our way and some don’t go our way. We needed confidence going into tomorrow. I’ve made friends with a lot of them. It’s been one of my best summers so far.”
“That’s a huge win no matter how you look at it,” Newton manager Brett Clark said. “They’re a good program over there, but we’re playing our best baseball right now. If our pitchers keep us in the game, like they’re doing, that’s going to happen.”
Enzo Bonventre drove in two runs for Newton. Jack Sigrist and Lincoln Andrews each went 2-for-4 hitting with an RBI.
Nick Vernars went 2-for-4 hitting for the Dawgs, driving in two runs. Ramon Vingochea and Andrew Miller each drove in a run. Tresten Kennard went 2-for-3 hitting.
Rocco Armeni pitched an inning for the win for Newton. Starter Chandler Henkelman went five innings, striking out three. Kyle Landwehr struck out three in three innings.
Gabe Kurtzhals took the loss Cheney, striking out four. Starter Hunter Otoole struck out five.
Newton left 10 runners on base.
“When you give up a four spot, you have to work to get back in the game,” Clark said. “That’s what we did. It starts with your pitching. Chandler had a rough first inning, but Chandler kept us in the game, and that’s what you have to do. We left a runner on second base with less than two outs in every inning. If we capitalize on that, we’ll score 10 or 12 runs in every game. We need to fix that.”
Cheney opened the game with a four-run first inning. Vernars hit a two-run double.
Jack Sigrist led off the bottom of the second inning with a home run. Newton then loaded the bases, but a strikeout and a ground-ball double play ended the threat.
The Rebels tied the game in the bottom of the second.
The Dawgs regained the lead in the top of the sixth when Kennard led off with a double, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a ground out.
Valley Center drops to 27-1 overall, 21-1 in league play. Newton is 11-14, 8-14 in league play. The two teams play at 7 p.m. Friday at Cheney and 7 p.m. Saturday at Newton.
There were two outs when the winning run scored.
E — Sigrist, J.Martinez 3, Specht 2, Stewart. DP — Cheney. LOB — Che. 7, New. 10. 2B — Kennard, Vernars. HR — Sigrist (2), Brautman (2). SB — Sigrist, Ross. CS — Vingochea. Sac. Bunt — Parcero. Sac. Fly — Miller.
WP — Kurtzhals, Landwehr. PB — Russ. HBP — Bartlett (Landwehr). Time — 2:35.