Central Bobcats Ride Limon's Arm to Win District Opener
SAN ANGELO, TX-- The Central Bobcats opened their District 8-6A campaign with a dominant 7-1 victory over the Killeen Kangaroos on Tuesday.
"Anytime these guys [Central] are on the field, they're going to compete," Central Head Coach Patrick Penry said. "Whenever you get into district, you're playing six or seven games in a week with tournaments and the midweek game. It's always trying on the pitching staff. But right now, when we've got our number one and number two going and our three, four, five guys in the back, we're geared up for two game series like we're going to face throughout this district."
Leading the way for the Bobats was senior pitcher Jonathan Limon.
"[Jonathan] kept the ball in the strike zone," Penry said. "He competed. That's what this team does. We had a little stretch where...three [games] in a row we had a two run lead going into the seventh and we gave up the game winning hit. So we told the guys after that, "Hey, new part of the season." Everything up to this point doesn't matter. We as coaches needed to get better and these kids have responded to everything we've asked of them. It goes back to what Jonathan did today. He's our ace and he competed. That's just what we needed for this team to get going."
The southpaw struck out 10 of the 19 batters he faced, allowing just one run on two hits and two walks in his five-and-a-third innings of work.
At the forefront of Limon's offensive backup was Nixon Brannan who went 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs and two runs scored. Brannan also finished just a homerun shy of the cycle.
The Bobcats opened the scoring with two outs in the first when Rance Rosas came home to score on a passed ball. Nixon Brannan would follow suite in the next at-bat on a wild pitch to give Central a 2-0 lead after the first inning.
Hayden Stevens would extend Central's lead in the third when Bryson Murrell grounded out to short stop. Oscar Nino would advance from second to third on the play before coming home to score on a balk by Killeen's Tavion Grant to make it 4-0 Central after three innings.
With one out in the fourth, Rosas took a 1-0 pitch the opposite way to left field for a double before an RBI triple from Brannan brought him home. Brannan would trot home on a high, sac-fly to right field from Stevens the very next at-bat to make it 6-0 Central.
Limon would begin the sixth inning and register an out before allowing a walk and being replaced on the hill by Noah Perez. The walked 'Roo later came around to score to make it 6-1 Central after five-and-a-half innings.
The Bobcats extended their lead in the sixth, however, when Rosas, who reached on a sharp single to short stop, came around to score on a double from Brannan to seal Central's winning margin.
Perez with one-and-two-thirds innings in relief for Limon, allowing just a walk during his shift on the mound with a pair of strikeouts to his name.
The Bobcats improve to 6-13 and 1-0 in district play. They will travel to Killeen for their second meeting with the 'Roos this Friday at 6 p.m.