East Central must fight through losers’ bracket for state berth

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 5, 2005

VIDALIA, La. &045; Franklin pitcher Kyle Wilson used a simple strategy: Throw the fastball.

The plan worked perfectly for Wilson, who struck out nine in 5 1/3 innings, to lead Franklin to a 5-2 victory over East Central in Saturday night’s opening round of the Dixie Majors Northeast District Tournament. Matt Johnson got the last two outs to earn a save.

East Central managed only four hits, as Wilson controlled the action with a fastball estimated to be in the mid-80s.

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&uot;He was just throwing strikes,&uot; East Central clean-up hitter Reid Simpson said. &uot;All he was throwing was the fastball. We just couldn’t catch up to it.&uot;

Franklin advances to today’s winners’ bracket game against Northeast, which earned a 4-3 victory over Morehouse in Saturday’s early game. The two winners play at 8 p.m. today.

East Central must now fight through the losers’ bracket to advance to the state tournament. The top two teams from the district tournament will advance.

&uot;We’ve got to hit the ball better to come out of the losers’ bracket,&uot; East Central coach Leo Eliser said.

East Central plays Morehouse at 6 p.m. today.

Eliser said he’s not sure who will pitch today, although he said Jacob Bonnette, Tony Godbold or Matt Shivley will likely start.

Brent Hinson almost pitched East Central into the winners’ bracket.

Hinson allowed only three hits through the first four innings, but Franklin took advantage of several defensive miscues to score three runs in the fifth.

Mark Moroni had an RBI single in the fifth for Franklin, and Johnston later added a two-RBI single. East Central also made three errors in the inning &045; two on ground balls and another throwing miscue &045; as Franklin grabbed the game’s momentum.

&uot;You can’t make small mistakes and expect to win, and we made some small mistakes,&uot; Eliser said. &uot;We made two critical errors, and I think Hinson pitched great and gave us a chance to win.&uot;

East Central scored twice in the second inning when Graham Roberts drew a leadoff walk, Tyler Bruce singled to right and C.J. Cothran singled to center.

C.J. Wright then drove in a run with a groundout, and Bruce scored when Wright got caught in a rundown between first and second.

Trailing 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth, East Central knew it had to score with the two-hour time limit drawing near.

Trey Keith walked, and Huston Eliser got an infield single. That ended the night for Wilson, who was replaced by Johnston.

Hinson drove in a run with a groundout, and Roberts grounded out to end the game.