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Friday, May 6, 2016

Cats whip Whippets, again

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A series of commercials on television for a freight delivery company ends with the tagline "What can brown do for you?"

This question might also be asked of the Thayer Bobcat baseball team, "What can Brown do for you?"

Justin Brown, that is. And the answer is everything.

The Bobcat senior had a huge time in the Class 1 District 4 Tournament at Eminence, helping Thayer win its third straight championship to earn a trip to the state playoffs.

Brown was gold at the dish for the Bobcats during their two games in the district tourney, racking up a single, two triples and a homer on his way to six runs-batted-in as Thayer knocked off Naylor and Ellington to claim the district crown.

Brown also earned the win on the hill for the Cats in the finals, as Thayer (17-6) topped third-seeded Ellington 6-4 May 18. It was the third consecutive year that Thayer has bested the Whippets in the district championship contest.

The Bobcats, currently ranked number two in Class 1, fell behind early before jumping on top in the bottom of the fifth and held on for victory.

The Whippets' Derek Brewer put Ellington on the board in the top of the first with a solo homer off Brown, before Levi Swyres made it 2-0 Ellington with an RBI-single to right.

Thayer got one of those runs back in the home half of the second thanks to a two-out RBI from Scott Hargus.

Hargus slammed a shot off the Ellington second baseman that landed in center, plating Brown to make the score Whippets 2, Bobcats 1, after two innings of play.

The Cats locked up the game in the bottom of the fourth thanks to some nifty base running from John Tollenaar.

Tollenaar (two hits, RBI) led off the frame with a base hit past second, and then stole second on a botched pickoff attempt.

With Brown in the batter's box, Tollenaar then swiped third on a ball in the dirt, leaving the rest up to Brown.

Brown came through with a hot shot to short that an alert Tollenaar scored on, tying the contest at 2-all.

Thayer took control of the afternoon with another two-out push, this one coming in the home half of the fifth.

Tollenaar was in the middle of this rally also, as he started the ball rolling with a single to left that plated pinchrunner Ryan Veatch from second base.

Next up, Eric Williams (two hits) legged out an infield hit to load the bases for Justin Brown.

The bases didn't stay loaded long, as Brown (single, triple, four ribbies) hammered a standup triple to the fence in right that scored three runs, staking Thayer to a 6-2 advantage after five.

Ellington made things interesting in the top of the seventh by plating a pair of runs, but they were still a pair short, as the Bobcats punched their ticket to the state sectionals with a 6-4 victory.

Jacob Eckman and Ben Martin logged a base hit each for Thayer.

In semi-final action, the Bobcats shook off two weeks of rust to hammer the Naylor Eagles 11-1 May 17.

After being inactive for a couple of weeks due to the recent rainy weather that fell during the last part of the regular season, Thayer's first game in the district tourney was also pushed back a day due to wet conditions.

No matter.

The Bobcats fell behind early, only to respond with an eight-run explosion in the second inning to clip the wings of the fifth-seeded Eagles (1-12) in run-ruled fashion.

Williams picked up the win for the Cats, working a complete-game four innings, giving up five hits while fanning three and issuing no walks.

Naylor picked up its lone run of the afternoon in the visitors' half of the first on a RBI-single from Jeff Young, staking the Eagles to a quick 1-0 lead.

It was in the second frame that the Bobcats made hay, starting with a leadoff homer over the fence in right-center from Justin Brown (two hits, two RBIs).

Dustin Gaines then got in on the run-producing action with a double to left-center that plated Garrett Smith. This was followed by a single from Martin that drove in Hargus.

Williams helped his own cause by dropping a bloop-hit into center that plated Gaines and Martin, continuing Thayer's onslaught.

Up for the second time in the second, Justin Brown then ripped his second extra-base hit of the frame with a standup triple that brought Williams home to score. Tollenaar added a run by swiping home on a passed ball, and Smith (three hits, RBI) put the caps on Thayer's eight-run second with a shot to left that plated Brown, pushing Thayer on top 8-1 after two.

The Cats finished things off with three more runs in the bottom of the fourth.

The first run came courtesy of the fleet-footed Tollenaar who took advantage of two errors on an infield hit.

Tollenaar hit a slow roller to third and made it to first before the throw, which was off line. With the ball rolling to the fence on the overthrow, Tollenaar headed to second. The throw to second was also misplayed, and Tollenaar did not stop running until he reached home, scoring on a base hit and error.

Hargus drove the final spike into Naylor's hopes of an upset by jacking a double to right-center that scored Brown and Smith, giving the Cats a 10-run victory and berth in the district tourney finals.

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