The legend of Jake Browne just gets bigger and bigger.
Hanfords 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 tournaments 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.
Hanfords 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 Heids 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 Brownes 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.
Were not expecting to go away. Were not going to give up. Theres nobody who doesnt believe we can do this. Theres too much evidence in front of us.
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
EZimmer, Ackerman, Dillon, Heid. DPBillings 3. LOBBillings 12, Hanford 11. 2BNeal. HRBrowne. CSGoselin, Neal, Browne.
IP H R ER BB SO
Baxter 6 2-3 10 3 2 7 2
Jacobs L 1 2-3 1 2 2 1 1
Anderson 7 1-3 8 3 2 1 4
Mitchell W 1 2-3 1 1 0 2 1
WPBaxter, Mitchell, Anderson. HBPby Baxter (Lindquist), by Anderson (Shelhamer, Ackerman). PBEnderlin. UmpiresH, Darrin Duncan; F, Todd Ellis; T, Kevin Gawenit. T2:11. Att400.
Eugene 8, Alaska 1
Wyoming 5, Oregon 3
Hawaii 18, Alaska 1
Hanford 5, Montana 4
Eugene 7, Idaho 3
Game 9, Hawaii (19-4) vs. Montana (30-20), 1 p.m.
Game 10, Wyoming (51-24) vs. Idaho (44-14), 5 p.m.
Game 11, Hanford (41-19) vs. Eugene (27-30-1), 8 p.m.