January 22, 2020

Braves sweep Trojans in two nail-biters

(Franklin, GA) — The Braves opened the Region 5-AA home schedule in a big way Friday in Franklin with a pair of hard-fought wins over Lamar County to earn a three game sweep in the region opening series.

The Braves took game one by a final score of 4-3 and edged the Trojans in a higher scoring nightcap 9-8.

In game one, senior starting pitcher Bryan Jones earned his second win of the season after tossing five innings of four hit ball and striking out two. Jones also paced the offense with two hits and two RBI’s in game one.

The Brave bullpen was a valuable asset in relief during game one with senior A.J. Head tossing a scoreless sixth inning and Tray Owens coming on to close out the 4-3 win with a scoreless seventh.

Owens needed just seven pitches to record the save leaving him rested enough to also come on for the save in game two. The sophomore hurler figured in the decision for all three games of the series after earning the win in Tuesday’s 12-2 road win. Owens also delivered a big blow at the plate with a grand slam in game two.

Tray Owens had a win and two saves to go along with a grand slam HR versus the Trojans this week (Photo: Gary Jones)

The Braves were efficient at the plate scoring the 13 runs on just 14 hits during Friday’s sweep.

Center fielder Collin Wright had a couple of big plays in the doubleheader including gunning a runner down at the plate late in the game and putting down a nice safety squeeze.

Coaching was also a big key to the game one win as head Brave coach Trent Bianco challenged an unreported player by the Trojans that would have resulted in a tie game had the play counted.

Bianco was really pleased with the efforts of some of his pitchers in the series.

“Bryan Jones was really good in game one today,” said Bianco after the doubleheader sweep. “We were disappointed not to be able to break it open when we had a couple of bases loaded opportunities — but to our guys credit they expected to win that first game. Defensively, we played well and in the end — playing these close games in the region will help us a lot.”

The head coach says his current No. 3 starter, Dale Thornhill is improving with each outing on the mound.

“Dale looked really good in game two until he just ran out of gas in the sixth inning. He is really developing into a great pitcher,” says Bianco. “We would have liked to have ended game two earlier but at the end of the day you don’t get style points for winning region games so were just glad to get out with the win.”

Owens has already been the Braves most valuable pitcher in 2018 and that was never more evident than in this three game series versus Lamar where he recorded a win and two saves.

“Tray was just great this week. We didn’t really want to have to go back to him in game two tonight, but he only threw a few pitches in game one so he was able to go out there and save it again for us. These guys have a lot of confidence when Tray is on the mound for us,” said Bianco.

The win moves the squad to 3-0 in Region 5-AA play with another big series on tap versus Jordan next week. The Braves will host Jordan on Tuesday at 5:30 PM at Alford Field before traveling to Columbus to meet the Jackets in a twin bill Friday afternoon.

The Braves and Callaway are currently tied atop the region standings with each team sitting at 3-0. Jordan is in third place at 3-3 followed by Temple at 2-4 and Lamar at 1-5.

The Braves have three layers currently hitting in the high .300’s for the season including Caden Raines at .372, and Jones and Davey Raines each at .370.

For more information on Brave baseball and to see additional photos visit Heard County Braves baseball on Facebook.

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