For the fifth time in the eight-year history of the Mid-Plains League, the Junction City Brigade are Cowdin Cup Champions.
After a 5-0 shutout in game one, the Brigade found that offensive firepower that’s been their calling card all season in extra innings in game two, beating the Midwest A’s 12-8 in 10 innings in Belton, Mo. to secure their title.
The win means that in only two of the seven Mid-Plains League seasons that the Brigade have been a part of, Junction City has not come away with the Cowdin Cup (the Brigade did not compete in the 2020 season).
The Brigade end their season with a 23-10 record. The title is the first for head coach Brandon Bachar.
After several exchanges of the lead early on, both the Brigade and the A’s sat tied up at four through six innings of the possible series-clinching game two of the series.
After scoreless seventh and eighth innings, the Brigade sprang to life, reaching base with their first five batters of the inning and scoring three on singles from Gus Freeman and Garrett Redden.
In the bottom of the ninth, Brian Bruxvoort was starting his second inning of relief after Tristian Wolf went the first six and two-thirds, allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits and five walks with eight strikeouts.
An error and a walk brought the tying run to the plate for the A’s and on the second pitch Mitchell Smith bombed a ball over the left field fence, tying the game back up again at seven with no outs.
Bruxvoort regained his composure and managed three straight outs to get out of the inning and regulation leading the Brigade’s blitz in the 10th.
Kade Graff started the inning on second base and after a inning opening strikeout by Thomas Beiswagner, Mid-Plains League Player of the Year Price Allman singled home Graff, giving the Brigade back the lead.
Two batters later, Freeman added another run on a single and then, two more batters later, Redden and Casey Stewart were walked with the bases loaded in back-to-back at-bats to push Junction City’s lead to four.
The Brigade added a final insurance run after Dylan Werries hit a sac-fly to right field, scoring Jace Essig.
Then it was the A’s turn for a final response. They started the bottom of the 10th with two straight outs but a single scored the starting runner on second to get within four.
The A’s seemed like they had more fight to give immediately following after a double put two in scoring position with two outs but a five-pitch strikeout ended the game and gave the Brigade the championship.
Allman had four hits in the game followed by three for Redden and two each for Graff and Essig.
The combined efforts of Cade Pehlps and Austin Gerety shut the Midwest A’s offense down completely in the opening game of the Cowdin Cup Championship Series.
Phelps got the start and went six innings, allowing seven hits and three walks with three strikeouts and Gerety followed things up right behind him with three no-hit innings with two walks and a strikeout.
After three scoreless innings, the Brigade got on the board with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. They added three more in the seventh to push their lead to five.
Beiswagner had two hits in the game including a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh and was the lone Brigade player with a multi-hit day. Redden also homered in the seventh.