04/11/06 — High School Baseball - Eagles cruise to win

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High School Baseball - Eagles cruise to win

By Dan Friedell
Published in Sports on April 11, 2006 2:02 PM

If the dinner table at the Brannan house is at all like the Wayne Christian dugout, there was certainly plenty of lively chatter over the meal last night. That's because coach and father Tim Brannan, starting pitcher Adam Brannan and left fielder T.A. Brannan all played a role in Monday's easy 11-0, five-inning, win at Goldsboro High.

"There won't be no negatives at the table tonight," Tim Brannan said. "I can tell you that right now."

Tim Brannan's main task was filling out the lineup card and keeping the Eagles motivated. Adam Brannan, a sophomore who already has over two years of varsity experience, pitched five scoreless innings with eight strikeouts and his older brother T.A. Brannan helped out with a 2-for-4, 2 RBI effort.

Adam Brannan scored two runs and got two singles himself, which made for a smooth night in the Brannan home. After a game like Monday's, there's not much of a sibling rivalry.

"If he gets four hits, and I get none, I'm going to want to get ahead," T.A. Brannan said of the intra-family competition. "But it's really no big deal."

But if the elder Brannan, a junior, has a big day, look out.

"There's just a little joking around," he explained. "But there's no animosity or anything like that."

Tim Brannan, who also teaches Pre-Algebra and History at the school, enjoys getting a chance to coach his children, though he admits that sometimes he would like to be able to watch from the bleachers like the other parents.

"It's a ball," he said. "Every year, I ask them, 'do you want me to do this again?' And there's a little part of me that wants them to say no, but they always say yes. It's a lot of work, and people don't realize that."

Aside from youth league games years ago, the Brannan boys haven't played on the same team very often. Even though they're just one grade apart, T.A. Brannan is about 22 months older than his little brother.

The third baseman said he doesn't play any differently when his brother, who now has a 5-0 record, is on the mound.

"I'm proud of him," he said, "but I want to do well for whoever's pitching."

While Adam Brannan's fastball still had enough life on it to overpower the young Goldsboro batters late in the game, he continued to work on his curveball.

"The last two years, I've never been able to get a good curveball," Adam Brannan said. "But this year, I've been trying to work on it more. I still didn't throw it as good as I wanted to though."

While Goldsboro is winless on the year (0-8 after Monday's game), and Wayne Christian is working to defend its league title for the second straight year, the Eagles didn't take the Cougars lightly.

"You've got to come into every game acting like they're state champions," T.A. Brannan said.

A two run rally in the bottom of the fifth would have extended the game past five innings for just the second time this year for Goldsboro. However, Adam Brannan induced a fly-out from Monquavis Edwards with runners on first and second to end the game.

The Eagles are now 9-2 overall (7-0 in conference) despite playing recent games with just one sub. Doug Johnson and Josiah Bright both wore casts on their hands after recent bunting mishaps.

The Cougars have been struggling to gain momentum this season on both offense and defense. The one inning that looked offensively promising was derailed by a baserunning mistake with no outs and runners on the corners; then two quick strikeouts ended the inning.

Defensively, Goldsboro made most of the routine plays -- an upgrade over past games -- and some spectacular plays.

With two on, two outs and two runs already home in the top of the second, Goldsboro pitcher Donte Love gave up a long fly ball into left-center. Most of those watching the game expected the ball to fall into the gap, but left fielder Donald Lewis came up with the defensive play of the game and snared the ball before it could cause any trouble.

A pumped up Lewis came charging back to the bench and was greeted by a chorus of cheers from his teammates.

"I didn't know if I was going to catch it or not," Lewis, a freshman, said. "I was surprised I made that catch."

Lewis, who has been trying to get better at reacting to balls on contact, said it was the best play of his career.

Second year coach Michael Darden is forced to field a team of near-rookies because baseball isn't a major priority for athletes at Goldsboro High. Losing doesn't help the team's profile within the school, either. It will be important to retain as many players as possible from this year's team.

"Hopefully, I can keep them interested," he said. "I try to make it as fun as possible, because it can get frustrating every now and then. But my juniors and seniors help me talk to the underclassmen and help me get to them on certain parts of the game."

W. Christian 222 23 -- 11 11 1

Goldsboro 000 00 -- 0 7 4

Leading hitters -- Wayne Christian -- Jeremy Jefferson 1-2, BB, HBP, 3 runs, 3 SB; Adam Brannan 2-3, RBI, 2 runs; T.A. Brannan 2-4, 2 RBI, 2B, run; Jeffrey Barfield 2-3, RBI, run, SB. Goldsboro -- Eric McLean 2-3; Monquavis Edwards 1-3, 2 SB; Donte Love 1-2.


Wayne Christian

Adam Brannan (W) 5 7 0 0 0 8


Donte Love (L) 5 11 11 7 5 4