weather icon Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Cougars survive comeback bid, fend off Patriots

Tyler Brown knew Friday’s game against Liberty would be a heated one.

So when the Patriots rallied from a six-run deficit to tie the game in the fifth inning, Brown and his Coronado baseball teammates didn’t sweat it.

“I never really let it get to me, because I know we have a squad that, as soon as we team up, there’s no one in town that’s better than us,” Brown said. “It’s always been a dog fight, and we usually come out on top.”

Brown went 3-for-5 with a solo home run and knocked in the go-ahead runs in the sixth to help the Cougars outlast Liberty 11-9 in a Southeast League matchup. 

“That took five years off of my life,” Coronado coach David Padilla said with a smile. “Whenever we play Liberty, it’s always going to be a battle.”

With the game tied 9-9 in the bottom of the sixth, Brown stepped to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded.

Searching for a fastball, the senior second baseman sent a ground ball up the middle that was knocked down by diving shortstop James Martz. But by the time Martz retrieved the ball, two runs had scored.

“I was expecting the fastball,” said Brown, who finished with three RBIs and a stolen base. “He gave me a good one and I hacked on it.”

The Cougars (13-2, 2-0) scored in every inning but one and had their leadoff hitter reach base in five of the first six innings. Coronado took a 7-0 lead by scoring four times in the first, once in the second and twice in the third.

“We were getting into hitter’s counts and when we did get our pitch, we hit them hard,” said Padilla, whose squad extended its winning streak to five. “Even some of the outs we made, they were still hit very, very hard.”

But the Patriots (13-3, 1-1) didn’t roll over. Chipping away at the lead, Liberty plated three runs in the fourth on three Cougars errors. The Patriots used six consecutive hits in the fifth to score six runs and tie the game at 9. Dan Skelly highlighted the rally with a two-run double.

Liberty loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the seventh. But Coronado’s Chandler Blanchard escaped with the victory by forcing Preston Pavilca to pop up a 1-2 fastball into foul territory for the final out.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.