Hanford Flames walk off with win on Browne's bomb

August 9, 2013 

The legend of Jake Browne just gets bigger and bigger.

Hanford’s talented catcher hammered a ball over the left-field fence at Swede Johnson Stadium on Friday night for a two-run, walk-off home run as the Flames pulled out a 5-4 win over the Billings (Mont.) Royals at the American Legion Pacific Northwest Regional in Eugene, Ore.

A day after hitting a solo home run and driving in a pair in the Flames’ opener, Browne provided another big blow that kept Hanford on its winning way.

“A two-run home run by the big dog,” said Flames coach Nat Roe. “The biggest dog.”

Hanford (41-19) remains in the championship portion of the double-elimination bracket and will play either Idaho Falls or host Eugene at 8 p.m. today. The winner will have an inside track on the regional title and a berth to the World Series as the tournament’s last unbeaten team.

While Browne might be the “biggest dog,” the Flames have plenty of punch in their pack to spread around.

Start with starting pitcher Jacob Anderson, who gave up four hits and two runs in the first two innings, then settled in to give up just one hit to the Royals (30-20) over the next five frames.

“The (guts) that Anderson showed,” Roe said. “He just scrabbled and battled.”

And when Anderson got into some trouble in the eighth, Nate Mitchell came on to escape a two-one, one-out jam and keep the game tied.

Hanford’s offense had chances throughout but never got the big hit until late. Roe gave Billings starter DJ Baxter the ultimate compliment: “He could pitch in our league.”

The Flames finally got something going in the seventh, started of course by Finn McMichael at the top of the order. He singled to start the inning and moved up on Brady Heid’s walk.

Trevor Jones then singled down the right-field line to score McMichael, and Ryan Neal doubled in Heid, though Jones was cut down at third base on the play.

Still, the two runs gave Hanford its first lead, 3-2. The Montana state champs scored a run in the eighth off Anderson and one in the ninth off Mitchell in a rally started by a leadoff error.

That set the stage for Browne’s dramatics. After Jones flied out to start the frame, Neal battled to draw a walk.

“Neal would not give in,” Roe said. “The buzzed him up on the chin, but Neal was not getting out. He walked, they threw a ball to J.B., and I said, ‘Turn it loose, big boy.’ He hit the next one out, we win.”

Jones finished 3-for-5 to pace the offense, while Neal, Browne and Aaron Enderlin each had two hits.

With 32 wins in their last 34 games, the Flames have long since come to expect good things to happen, Roe said.

“It was an amazing feeling, but the feeling really was, we got ’em. We chased ’em all game, and we just got ’em.

“We’re not expecting to go away. We’re not going to give up. There’s nobody who doesn’t believe we can do this. There’s too much evidence in front of us.”

BILLINGS HANFORD

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Zimmer 2b-ss 5 2 2 0 McMichael lf 4 2 1 0

Wiechman 1b 3 0 1 0 Heid ss 4 1 0 0

Jacobs ss-p 3 0 0 0 Jones cf 5 0 3 1

Ackerman 3b 3 1 1 0 Neal 3b-2b 3 1 2 1

Leeknecht c 5 0 3 1 Browne 1b-c 5 1 2 2

Shelhamer cf 4 0 0 0 Serkowski 2b-1b 2 0 1 0

Goselin lf 5 0 1 1 Enderlin c 3 0 2 0

Lind dh-2b 4 0 0 0 Pocaro 3b 0 0 0 0

Dillon rf 4 1 1 0 Lindquist dh 1 0 0 0

Baxter p 0 0 0 0 Mitchell dh-p 1 0 0 0

Colson rf 4 0 0 0

Anderson p 0 0 0 0

Totals 36 4 9 2 Totals

Billings 110 000 011 — 4

Hanford 100 000 202 — 5

E—Zimmer, Ackerman, Dillon, Heid. DP—Billings 3. LOB—Billings 12, Hanford 11. 2B—Neal. HR—Browne. CS—Goselin, Neal, Browne.

IP H R ER BB SO

Billings

Baxter 6 2-3 10 3 2 7 2

Jacobs L 1 2-3 1 2 2 1 1

Hanford

Anderson 7 1-3 8 3 2 1 4

Mitchell W 1 2-3 1 1 0 2 1

WP—Baxter, Mitchell, Anderson. HBP—by Baxter (Lindquist), by Anderson (Shelhamer, Ackerman). PB—Enderlin. Umpires—H, Darrin Duncan; F, Todd Ellis; T, Kevin Gawenit. T—2:11. Att—400.

Late Thursday

Eugene 8, Alaska 1

Friday

Loser out

Wyoming 5, Oregon 3

Hawaii 18, Alaska 1

Championship bracket

Hanford 5, Montana 4

Eugene 7, Idaho 3

Today

Loser out

Game 9, Hawaii (19-4) vs. Montana (30-20), 1 p.m.

Game 10, Wyoming (51-24) vs. Idaho (44-14), 5 p.m.

Championship bracket

Game 11, Hanford (41-19) vs. Eugene (27-30-1), 8 p.m.

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