A.J. Briganti demonstrates home run form for the crowd during Friday night’s 4-3 victory over Douglas. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
Whether the booming sound was the crack of the ball hitting bat or breaking the sound barrier as it traveled beyond the centerfield wall is unclear, but what was clear was A.J. Briganti’s second-game, first-inning home run, brought the crowd – and the team – to their feet.
“It’s the first home run of my high-school career,” Briganti said. “It was awesome.”
Briganti’s home run couldn’t have come at a better time for the Bruins. After losing the first game 1-12 in five innings, the long shot infused the Brookings-Harbor High School varsity baseball team with some winning lifeblood in what could have been a truly dark night.
The Bruins used four pitchers in the opening game that started with starting pitcher Bryce Aldrich getting shelled for 9 runs before he could shut down the raging Trojans of Douglas.
Chandler Dodd come into the game in relief for three innings and gave up two runs before Ronnie Manley came in to finish the game in the fifth.
Not only did the Bruins’ pitching get shelled in the first, they also couldn’t get their bats going. Not so in the second game.
Briganti pitched a complete seven-inning masterpiece as well as hitting the opening shot that set the tone for the Bruins’ offense for the entire game. He gave up three runs – two in the first on a two-run homer by the Trojan’s clean-up hitter and one in the third – but he struck out 13 of the batters he faced, and only walked two.
The Bruin offense didn’t let up after Briganti’s home run either, in the seventh inning of the game senior Corey Garvin connected for his first hit of the season – a double to start the inning. Two batters and two strikeouts later, fellow senior, Isaac Sanders came up to bat. With Garvin in scoring position the pressure was intense, according to Sanders, but he connected for a single that scored Garvin and won the game.
“It’s my first walk off ever, and it’s at home,” Sanders said, “so it’s one of the best feelings – close to a home run. It’s awesome.”
The Bruins’ split places them in a tie for third place in the Far West League and their next game will come at 5 p.m. on Tuesday against North Bend on the road.
The JV team traveled to Douglas on Friday and came home with doubleheader victories as the took the JV Trojans 13-3 in six innings in the first game and 13-7 in a darkness-called six-inning game for the second. JV will be at home on Tuesday at 5 p.m.