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Saladino Tournament: Seniors spur Brandon's 14-4 rout of Gaither

BRANDON — The day after Brandon's disappointing loss to Brooks-DeBartolo in Tuesday's Saladino Tournament pool play finale — a game in which seven starters were benched in the fifth inning — Eagles coach Matt Stallbaumer decided to tinker with his lineup card for Wednesday's quarterfinal against Gaither.

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The new look, which had Brandon's five starting seniors stacked at the top of the lineup, ended up working remarkably well.

The Eagles pounded Gaither 14-4 in five innings, ending the Cowboys' 16-game winning streak. And with the win, Brandon is just two wins away from its second Saladino title in three years.

The Eagles (17-5) will face Plant in Wednesday's 7 p.m. semifinal at Brandon.

"I wanted to make a message (to the seniors) that you've gotten us to this point over the last couple years," Stallbaumer said. "It's time for you to bring us home.

"That's what I was trying to do internally."

Brandon's 14-hit attack wasn't full of astronomical blasts — all of them were singles — but every starter had a hit.

And new No. 5 hitter Derek Dungan, the 5-foot-6 senior who usually bats ninth, sparked the Eagles' nine-run third inning, hitting a two-run single that opened the gates for a frame that saw 14 Brandon hitters come to the plate.

In that inning, the Brandon seniors were 6-for-6 with seven runs scored.

"Once one of us gets on, the rest of us usually follow," said Brandon senior catcher Roderick Shoulders, who was 3-for-4 with an RBI. "That's what happened in that one inning when we put up nine runs."

The Cowboys (18-3) left 11 runners on base, stranding the bases loaded three times. A Gaither team that scores nearly 10 runs a game had little firepower.

First baseman Brady North did hit the week's first home run at Brandon, a solo shot into the wind over the left-centerfield fence.

In the other quarterfinal, Plant survived an ugly game, taking advantage of 14 Wharton errors to advance 11-9.

Mike Demo was 3-for-4 with an RBI double while Tanner Anderson and Connor Mitchell also had multiple hits for Plant (13-8).

The Wildcats (11-10) had their opportunities. Trailing 10-9 in the sixth inning, Plant reliever Stan Rowe stranded the based loaded with a strikeout.

"I'm proud of our guys because they've been in the fire a lot and they continue to come out and grind," Plant coach Dennis Braun said.

. Up next

Semifinals today at Brandon

Alonso vs. Jefferson, 4 p.m.

Brandon vs. Plant, 7 p.m.

Saladino Tournament: Seniors spur Brandon's 14-4 rout of Gaither 04/14/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 11:37pm]
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