Lions bring home Batesville tournament championship

Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Manila Lions outscore Pangburn to win the Wounded Warrior Project tourney. (Photo provided/David Sims)

Manila outscored Pangburn 11-6 and captured the Southerner Wounded Warrior Project Invitational Tournament Thursday afternoon at Batesville.

The Lions scored three times in the first inning and once in the second to grab an early 4-0 lead over the Tigers. Pangburn answered with a three spot in the bottom of the second to pull within a run, but Manila came right back with two more in the top of the third to go ahead 6-3. Pangburn got a run in their half of the inning to pull to within 6-4 entering the fourth frame.

Both teams scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings before the Lions hit the Tigers with three runs in the top of the seventh. Manila held the Tigers scoreless in the bottom of the inning to celebrate the championship.

Brock Birmingham worked the first four innings for the Lions, earning the victory. The sophomore right hander gave up five runs, all earned, on nine hits. Birmingham struck out two and walked four. Franklin Patterson picked up the save, pitching the final three innings. Patterson gave up one unearned run, no hits, fanned four and walked two.

Michael Jorgensen led the Lions at the plate, going 3-5 with two RBI and a run scored. Brett Sweatman hammered a three-run homer and scored twice, Layne Sims belted a pair of doubles and scored a run while Abraham Lopez, Jacob Tarver and Ethan Navarro all had RBI singles and scored runs. Birmingham singled and scored twice while Brady Clark also singled and scored a run.

Manila reached the finals with a pair of victories on Wednesday, defeating Cross County 5-1 and Midland 12-2. Navarro fired three innings of shutout ball in relief to pick up the win over the Thunderbirds. Navarro allowed just two hits while striking out five Thunderbirds. Lopez worked the first four innings, allowing one run on just two hits. Lopez also struck out five while walking a pair of batters.

Cross County held a 1-0 lead entering the top of the sixth inning before the Lions scored twice to take a 2-1 advantage. Manila added three more runs in the seventh to gain the victory. Jorgensen and Clark delivered key two-run singles to highlight the Lion rally.

Jorgensen finished with two hits while Lopez also had a pair of hits, including a double and a run scored. Birmingham, Sims, Navarro and Michael Parker also scored for the Lions.

Manila scored four runs in the third inning and added eight more in the sixth in the Lions' 10-run victory over Midland. Jorgensen earned the win, going five innings, allowing just six hits and one run while striking out seven Mustangs. Birmingham finished the game with an inning of one-run, two-hit pitching.

Birmingham and Navarro both singled and doubled, drove in two runs and scored two runs each to lead the Lion offense. Clark cracked a two-run single, Jorgensen had a base hit and scored twice, Patterson jacked a run-scoring double while Sweatman drove in a run and scored once. Lopez, Tarver and Jeremiah Perez all scored one run apiece.

"Our guys came up big in key situations, and that was good to see," said Manila Coach Jason Crane. "Going into the tournament, we had been struggling to come up with the big hit when we had runners in scoring position. But this week, we had some kids really come through. Pangburn has a very good hitting team, but we got a good pitching performance from both Birmingham and Patterson. Our offense was able to get rolling. I am very proud of the kids."

Manila returns to action Monday afternoon with a road trip to Bay. The Lions go to Osceola on Tuesday before playing host to the Seminoles Thursday. Manila will go across state lines to face Woodland on Friday in Marble Hill, Missouri. The Lions will play host to a doubleheader on Saturday, facing Rivercrest at 11 a.m. before taking on East Poinsett County at 3:30 p.m.

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