Janesville 14s use strong hitting to improve to 2-0 at Babe Ruth World Series
It was its offense that stepped up in the second game.
Janesville defeated Brazoswood, Texas, 8-5, on Sunday at RF&P Park to take a big step toward clinching a spot in the championship round.
Janesville is now 2-0 in National Division pool play with two games left and holds at least a share of the division lead. The top three teams in each division after four games of pool play advance to the single-elimination championship round.
Not only did Janesville beat its on-field opponent Sunday, it also beat the weather. Incoming thunderstorms forced the start of the game between Glen Allen and Midwest Plains Region champion Hi-Tower, Minn., to be pushed back two hours and 15 minutes. Host Glen Allen eventually defeated Hi-Tower, 5-3, to improve 2-0 in National Division pool play. Hi-Tower, Janesville’s opponent today, is 0-1.
“We’re exactly where we want to be, and that’s 2-0 in the tournament,” Janesville coach Ron Kobs said. “We haven’t clinched anything yet, but we’ve put ourselves in a good situation.
“And more importantly, Texas is now 0-2 in the tournament, and we hold the tiebreaker over them. That’s huge.
“Tomorrow is a new day, and we have to come out and play good ball, but I really like where we’re at right now.”
Kevin Brandt and Charlie Platts drove in two runs apiece for Janesville, which has not trailed so far in the tournament. Connor Bowen scored three runs, while Nick Blomgren was 2 for 3 with two runs scored.
Janesville wasted no time setting off the offensive fireworks Sunday.
Bowen, who opened the game with the first of three walks, scored Janesville’s first run when he advanced home on a balk by Brazoswood pitcher Aaron McIntyre. With two outs in the inning, Platts singled through the left side of the infield to score Blomgren.
After conceding a run in the second inning, Janesville turned on its offense, scoring two runs in the third and three in the fourth to take a commanding 7-1 lead.
Bowen started the third inning with a walk, and Blomgren hit a double to left-center field. On the next at-bat, Brandt followed Blomgren with a single to left-center, which scored Bowen. Platts laid down a sacrifice bunt after that to score Blomgren.
Bowen singled past the shortstop in the fourth inning to bring home Dominick Gruenwaid, who was pinch running for Alex Marro. Brennan Olin laid down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt to the pitcher and beat the throw to first base, scoring McCawley Cox in the process. Bowen finished the scoring for the inning when he advanced home on a sacrifice fly out to left field by Brandt.
Brazoswood, the Southwest Region champion, fired back with two runs in its half of the fourth inning and two runs in the sixth to cut the lead to 7-5.
Kobs made the call to replace starting pitcher Jarrod Hoffarth with Brandt, who shut down the Brazoswood offense the rest of the way with two innings of no-hit ball.
Janesville got an insurance run in the seventh inning when Marro’s squeeze bunt scored J.T. Smithback, in as a pinch runner for Platts.
“That’s what really stood out the most today,” Kobs said of his team’s three perfectly executed squeeze bunts. “We have kind of had trouble executing that play all season, but today we were 3-for-3 on it.
“We did have four errors today, but our defense made the plays when it counted. It was another great day for us.”
Hoffarth earned the win, allowing six hits and two earned runs over five-plus innings, while Brandt was credited for the save.
“Jarod probably didn’t have his best stuff today, but I’ll tell you what, he made pitches when he had to,” Kobs said. “He was effective and kept us in the game.
“And Kevin came in in a tough situation and did exactly what we needed him to do, and that was to throw outs.”
Janesville faces Hi-Tower at 9 a.m. A victory assures its advancement to the championship quarterfinals on Thursday.
If Janesville follows that with a win against Glen Allen in the division finale Wednesday, it will earn a bye to the championship semifinals Friday. The championship game is Friday night.
The Gazette staff contributed to this story.
JANESVILLE 8, BRAZOSWOOD 5
Janesville (ab-r-h-rbi)—Bowen, 1b, 1-3-1-1; Olin, cf, 3-0-1-1; Blomgren, 3-2-2-0; Brandt, rf-p, 3-0-1-2; Platts, lf, 2-0-1-2; Smithback, pr, 0-1-0-0; Faust, 3b, 4-0-0-0; Marro, c, 3-0-0-0; Gruenwald, pr, 0-1-0-0; Hoffarth, p, 3-0-0-0; Coulter, rf, 0-0-0-0. Totals: 25-8-6-6.
Brazoswood (ab-r-h-rbi)—Reyes, ss, 4-0-1-0; Alexander, pr, 0-0-0-0; Reed, lf, 3-0-1-1; Lacaze, cf, 4-0-0-1; Kopycinski, rf, 3-1-1-0; McIntyre, p, 2-0-1-0; Randolph, 2b, 2-0-0-0; Hernandez, 1b, 0-0-0-0; Uranga, ph-1b, 3-0-1-0; Simmons, 2b, 1-0-0-0; Bell, ph-p, 3-1-0-0; Dominquez, 3b, 3-1-1-0; Guel, c, 2-1-0-0; Cortez, ph, 0-1-0-0. Totals: 30-5-6-2.
Janesville 202 300 1—8
Brazoswood, Texas 010 202 2—5
E—Janesville 4, Brazoswood 2. LOB—Janesville 5, Brazoswood 8. SAC—Olin, Platts. SF—Brandt. SB—Bowen, Olin, Blomgren, Brandt, Faust, Kopycinski. 2B—BlomgrenReed, Dominquez.
IP H R ER BB SO
Hoffarth (W) 5 6 5 2 4 1
Brandt (S) 2 0 0 0 0 1
McIntyre (L) 4 6 7 6 4 4
Bell 3 0 1 0 1 3