The Brazos Valley Bombers played like a first place team Thursday night, shutting out the Weatherford Wranglers by a score of 4-0 at Brazos Valley Bank Ballpark. With the victory, the Bombers extended their winning streak to five games and maintained a half-game lead in the Speaker Division over the Coppell Copperheads and Colleyville LoneStars.
As has been the case throughout the streak, the story for the Bombers was pitching. All-Star Casey Whitmer led the charge, pitching seven innings of one-hit baseball. He wasn’t the devastating strikeout machine he has been much of the season, striking out three and walking four. But he was effective in holding the Wranglers at bay long enough to hand over a shutout to the bullpen.
Brice Ary relieved Whitmer to open the eighth inning and ran into trouble right away. After giving up a pair of singles, he hit the Wranglers’ Dusty Coleman to load the bases. Head coach Kevin Moulder, sensing the momentum of the game possibly shifting, quickly put in lefty Tyler Davis to defuse the rally.
And defuse it Davis did. He coaxed a popup from Seth Hammock that faded past the first base bag and towards foul territory. Second baseman TJ Mittelstaedt had a bead on it all the way, though, and tracked it down for the first out. Davis then got All-Star Adam Hornung to ground into a double play to end the inning and the threat.
The difference in the game was that when the Bombers had the same chances, they scored a few runs. The B’s picked up two runs in the second inning, even after Joseph Towns was thrown out at the plate on Blake Walker’s double. With Walker on third, Daman Aaron grounded to the shortstop, who was so concerned with gunning down Walker at the plate that he bobbled the ball and everyone was safe. Aaron advanced to third on a Kip Masuda single, and a walk to Mittelstaedt loaded the bases. Keith Stein then grounded to the third baseman, whose wild throw to first left Stein safe and allowed Aaron to score.
The B's added a pair of insurance runs in the fifth, again taking advantage of Weatherford mistakes. Stein led off with a single, then Mark McGonigle singled to center. Stein rounded second and headed for third, and eliciting a wild throw from the Wranglers’ center fielder that let Stein walk home. McGonigle, who advanced to second on the wild throw, moved up to third on a wild pitch, then scored on Will Basom’s sacrifice fly.
The Bombers shutout was their fourth during the five-game streak, and runs the pitching staff’s shutout stretch to 26 straight innings. The shutout comes on the heels of the no-hitter thrown by Clint Helms against Coppell Tuesday night, which elevated the Bombers into first place in the division.
The Bombers blockbuster homestand continues on Friday night with Fireworks Friday, featuring a spectacular fireworks show following the contest against the Denton Outlaws. On Saturday the Copperheads visit for a doubleheader, and the first 500 fans will receive Bombers inaugural season T-shirts courtesy of Caldwell Country Chevrolet.