The Blue Devil senior fired a two-hit shutout in the Blue Devils’ 10-0, six-inning home win over Bowdon, fanning 11 Red Devils, including six of them on called third strikes.
Needless to say, Bremen coach Mark Clark was pleased with the performance from one of his senior leaders.
“He pitched really well. You know, the first game of the season he pitched really good against Rockmart like that and I was just real pleased with the way he threw it [Thursday]. He’s our senior and he just threw the ball really good,” Clark said. “He had his pitches working and I’m just real proud of the way he threw the ball.”
The Blue Devils (6-1, 3-0-1 Region 5-AA) got all the run support Gerard would need in the bottom of the first when Colby Houser was hit by a pitch, stole second and came around to score on an RBI single from Jonah Stephens for the early 1-0 lead.
Of course, Gerard wasn’t complaining when his offense delivered a seven-run second inning to bust the game open, where Bremen sent 12 batters to the plate, with the first nine all reaching base on five hits, a hit batsman, two walks and an error.
The big inning fueled the way to the mercy-rule win, and Clark said it was good to see the bats get going early and often Thursday.
“We’ve talked about not watching that third strike, but we swung the bat good. We got some big hits when we needed it and we laid some bunts down to put a little pressure on the defense. I was just real proud of the way our guys came out and played [Thursday],” Clark said.
Things didn’t go quite the way first-year coach Todd Eubanks envisioned in the Red Devils’ region opener, as Bowdon stranded a runner at third in the top of the second and then had two more runners picked off first base after three got picked off the bags just a night before at Central.
Although Bowdon is enduring some growing pains with a young squad, Eubanks said it can’t use that as an excuse right now.
“It’s a white ball and a 17-inch plate. We’ve got to go out there and we’ve got to hit it and we’ve got to throw it and we’ve got to catch it,” Eubanks said. “The hungrier team won. Bremen came out and they were more aggressive. They wanted it more and they took it to us and we didn’t respond well. The bottom line is, the better team won [Thursday].”
After going up 8-0 through two innings, the Blue Devils added a run in the third on a Houser triple and an RBI sacrifice fly by Stephens and then finished the game in the sixth when Stephens led off with a double and scored on a Red Devil throwing error two batters later.
Stephens went 2-for-2 with a double, two runs scored and two RBI, while every other Blue Devil starter had one hit other than Gerard, though he did more than enough on the mound to make up for it.
Slade Parmer (1-for-2) and Daulton Spruill (1-for-1) accounted for the Red Devils’ two hits — both singles.
Bremen remains home to host Jordan (6-1) today at 5 p.m. in the Red Jackets’ region opener. Bowdon (3-3, 0-1), meanwhile, continues its stretch of four games in four days, traveling to Chattahoochee County (1-3, 1-1) for a 4 p.m. region contest before wrapping up the busy week on Saturday with a 2 p.m. matinee at Ranburne (Ala.).
“It’s a busy stretch, but there’s no other place I’d rather be than out here playing games and trying to fix the issues. We’ll see how they respond. They don’t have a whole lot of time to go home and think about it. They’ve got to come back [Friday] and they’ve got to be hungrier than Chattahoochee. So we’ll see how they respond,” Eubanks said.