Lions sweep Patriots in second round match up

The Briarwood Christian Lions swept the Homewood Patriots, 2-0, in the second round of the AHSAA Class 5A playoffs April 25. (FILE)

The Briarwood Christian Lions swept the Homewood Patriots, 2-0, in the second round of the AHSAA Class 5A playoffs April 25. (FILE)

By JORDON SEMIEN/For the Reporter

HOMEWOOD — The Briarwood Christian Lions looked to keep their post season run going with a second round AHSAA Class 5A playoff road battle with the Patriots of Homewood High. While the bats won game one, 14-1 for the Lions, a pitcher’s duel decided game two, with Briarwood pulling out the 5-2 victory.

Homewood got the first run on the board in game one, but the Lions’ Ethan Simmons responded, backed by plays like Brayden Housel’s inside the park home run in the top of the seventh. The teams broke for an intermission after the Briarwood win before settling in for game two.

Briarwood sent senior ace Jacob Bracewell to the mound, hoping for a strong performance similar to that of game one, while the Patriot’s turned to Adam Stewart to keep their post season alive.

Homewood struck first with a two RBI single from Stewart in the top of the first; Stewart then turned in a fast one, two, three inning in the bottom of the frame to keep the Lions at bay.

Bracewell and Stewart combined to put on a pitching clinic; both turned away batters at a whim for majority of the game, with Bracewell managing his way out of a bases loaded situation, keeping the score at two nothing until the bottom of the fifth.

Bracewell’s gem of a game was backed by fifth inning RBI swings from Housel and Simmons, and a sacrifice grounder from John Pegusky for a three to two lead. Briarwood’s Tim Robertson would put the nail in Homewood’s coffin in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI triple through the legs of first base, followed with a steal of home on a wild pitch, securing the five to two win.

Bracewell turned in a five strikeout night with two walks, matched by Stewart’s own five strikeout performance.

After the win, Briarwood head coach Steve Renfroe said he believes that the pitching staff’s phenomenal night “gave our hitters and offense confidence.”

“You could hear them in the dugout talking about it, even in game two,” he said. “They just felt really good about it and when Jake got out of the bases loaded jam, you could tell our kids went ‘OK, we got this.’”