Briarwood gains confidence with spring break wins

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

HOOVER – You could argue that the Briarwood Lions have played one of the most difficult high school baseball schedules of anyone in the 5A classification this season, and while that led to an 0-11 start, it has started to pay off in recent games.

Following two area wins over John Carroll Catholic School, the Lions returned to the field during the week of spring break to take part in the Hoover spring break tournament—and a strong performance it was.

BCS went on to finish the tournament 3-1 overall to pick up their fifth win in the last six games and improve to 5-12 overall this season.

Briarwood took down Rossview (TN), Chelsea and Stanhope Elmore, while losing to Farragut (TN) to close out the tournament run. A recap from each game is below.

Game 1: Briarwood 11, Rossview (TN) 1

In what was a tightly contested game for five innings, the Briarwood Lions broke loose in the sixth and seventh innings by scoring a combined nine runs to pick up an 11-1 victory in the opening game.

The Lions, who outhit Rossview 11-4 in the game, took a 1-0 lead after two innings and a 2-0 lead after four innings, but didn’t get a big chunk of runs until the sixth where they scored three followed by six in the seventh to put the game away.

Despite the close game for the majority of the contest, Briarwood still didn’t seem worried because of the pitching of Carson McKinney and Noah Whatley.

McKinney pitched the first three innings and allowed three hits and struck out three, while Whatley closed out the final four innings and allowed just one hit while adding four more strikeouts.

At the plate, Wesley Helms went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, while Parker Hutson added three RBIs as well after a 1-for-3 game. Eli Steadman also went 1-for-3 and added two RBIs, while Bryce Perrien was 2-for-5 with one RBI. Blake McKenna also added an RBI and went 1-for-2.

Game 2: Briarwood 6, Chelsea 5

Briarwood stormed out in front with four runs in the fist and one in the second to take a 5-1 advantage early in what became a thrilling matchup with county-foe Chelsea. That was followed by three consecutive scoreless innings between the two, before Chelsea started its comeback attempt.

The Hornets posted one run in the sixth to cut the deficit to three runs, and then came back in the seventh and put together some clutch play to score three runs and tie the game at 5-5.

Briarwood, however, had a big answer in the bottom half to make all of that work by Chelsea for naught. After a walk and single from the Lions was followed by a second out, Perrien stepped to the plate and singled on a line drive to right field to drive home Steadman for a walk-off 6-5 victory.

The Lions were led by Perrien at the plate thanks to a 2-for-3 game, including his walk-off hit, with two walks, one RBI and two runs scored. Helms and Tyler Waugh both picked up two hits apiece, while McKenna posted a game-high two RBIs. 

Game 3: Briarwood 11, Stanhope Elmore 4 

In the first four innings of its contest with Stanhope Elmore, Briarwod scored at least two runs to post all 11 of its runs in an 11-4 victory.

During that four-inning span, Stanhope posted all of its runs as well with two in the first and two in the fourth, but that wasn’t nearly enough to keep pace.

The Lions put up four in the first, three in the second and two in both the third and fourth to pull away.

Jonah Carroll got the start on the mound and went 3 2/3 innings posting four strikeouts and allowing five hits and four runs. Guin Renfroe came in to pitch the final 3 1/3 innings and allowed no hits while striking out one.

At the plate, Sam Hamner had a solid outing thanks to a 2-for-4 day at the plate featuring four RBIs. Helms continued a strong tournament by going 2-for-5 with two RBIs, while McKinney also picked up two hits and two RBIs. 

Game 4: Briarwood 3, Farragut (TN) 13

The final game didn’t end the way Briarwood would have liked it to, falling to the Farragut Admirals from Knoxville, Tennessee, but it was an opponent that had only lost two games this season.

Farragut posted nine combined runs between the first two innings to take a 9-0 lead, which became too much for the Lions to overcome in a 13-3 loss.

The Lions had some late-inning success at the plate scoring one in the fifth and two in the sixth, but the Admirals answered with four combined runs to pick up the 10-run win in six innings.

Photos available at Shelbycountyphotos.com.