Bryan fans nine, tosses two-hitter in Monterey win

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 31, 2003

MONTEREY, La. &045; Phillip Bryan is over the rotator cuff injury. He’s changed his mechanics. And he doesn’t mind pitching whenever he gets the call.

Just have some ice handy after it’s all over.

Bryan struck out nine and tossed a two-hitter as Monterey put away Weston 10-0 in six innings in a Class B regional playoff matchup. Bryan has thrown every pitch so far for Monterey in its two playoff games, and don’t be surprised if he gets the call Friday.

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The Wolves will play the winner of the Pine Prairie-Centerville game. A Pine Prairie win means Monterey plays at home, but a Centerville win will put the Wolves on the road.

&uot;I played over in Jena in the summer, and I got my mechanics down,&uot; said Bryan, who walked none and hit two batters in 11 innings of postseason work. &uot;I tore my rotator cuff, and I went over and worked with a man in Jonesville. He got me back together, and I got to throwing harder and better. You’ve got to play through some pain. I’ll ice it down. That’s always good to do after you pitch.&uot;

As long as the arm holds up, the Wolves may go a long way based on his last two outings. While he wasn’t totally on his game in Friday’s win over Rapides, Bryan had plenty of pop on his fastball that left Weston having a hard time trying to catch up.

After giving up a single in the third inning, Bryan retired the 10 of the next 11 batters &045; five strikeouts, three infield groundouts, one infield flyout and one Monterey error.

&uot;They weren’t catching up to his fastball,&uot; Monterey head coach Hank Zizzi said. &uot;I think it had more zip on it today and a lot of movement. He had good movement. With one-game-and-you’re-out (playoff system), you’ve got to go with what you’ve got. You can’t fool around.&uot;

Weston (10-6) had its chances in the early innings against Bryan but couldn’t get a key

hit to turn the tide. Monterey had an early 3-0 lead but was having trouble against Weston left-hander Dusty Nomey with the game far from over.

In the third T.J. Stewart was hit by a pitch and went to third on a Drew Maxwell single, but Bryan got Kris Watson to strike out to end the inning.

&uot;We hit the ball hard right at them a few times,&uot; Weston head coach Ritchie Tolar said. &uot;But I don’t want to take anything away from them. They did what they had to do, and we didn’t. That’s the bottom line. We made some errors, and they kept putting the ball in play. That’s what good teams do. We didn’t make the plays when we had to.&uot;

Weston’s Wolves were still in the game up until the fifth inning when Monterey used a couple hits to take advantage of four errors and blow the game open. Monterey finally caught up to Nomey, who used his curveball and changeup to set up the occasional fastball.

&uot;We just couldn’t get our timing down on it,&uot; Zizzi said. &uot;He was mixing it up real well &045; his fastball and his curve. We started coming around and meeting the ball instead of trying to hammer it. You can’t hammer a slow-pitch pitcher. You’ve got to come around and meet him.&uot;

Things went awry for Nomey in that fifth as Monterey put runners on first and third with one out thanks to an error. Another error brought A.J. Smith home and put runners at second and third, and Max Green scored when the ball got by the catcher after Ryan Perkins struck out with bases loaded and two outs for a 5-0 lead.

Layton Strebeck then scored on a wild pitch.

&uot;We didn’t make the plays when we needed to,&uot; Tolar said. &uot;You hate to say it, but that was the worst game we’ve played defensively. It’s an area we’ve played well all year, and that’s what got us here.&uot;

Bryan then delivered a two-run single that scored Ben Brallier and Perkins for a 8-0 lead, and Bryan went to second on an error by the left fielder. Ryan Kemp singled in Bryan for a 9-0 lead but was left stranded at third.

In the sixth Matt Shively singled in Chad Thomas to end the game.

&uot;I was just mad I couldn’t hit the ball,&uot; said Bryan, who struck out three times to Nomey before driving in the two runs. &uot;We had to get something. We weren’t hitting the ball early in the game. We just couldn’t get up to hit. He threw his curveball every pitch.&uot;

Monterey had success in the second inning when it took a 3-0 lead but fired blanks in the third and fourth. Its first run came on a Chad Thomas inside-the-park homer that got by a diving center fielder and rolled to the fence.

Brallier singled in Seth Paul, and Kemp singled Matt Shively before A.J. Smith grounded out to end the inning.

Nomey didn’t allow a hit the next two innings after he retired the side in order in the first inning.

&uot;I thought we kind of matched them pitch for pitch,&uot; Tolar said. &uot;Left-handers are tough to hit, especially in high school. In Class B it’s tough because you don’t see them every day. We did our homework. We knew they could hit fastballs. They’re very well-respected in the state in Class B for their hitting. Their top five hitters &045; they said they all can put the ball in play.&uot;