POTOSI — The Central baseball team was forced to make an early pitching change Saturday when senior starter Garrett Manion began to show visible discomfort from a previous back injury in the third inning.
Freshman Brayden Manion was summoned from right field to take over, and held down the struggling Fredericktown offense as the Rebels earned a 9-2 victory in the first round of the Class 3, District 2 Tournament.
Junior shortstop Derek Mitchell powered the offense by going 3-for-3 with a triple and two runs scored, and second-seeded Central (11-14) advanced to meet tournament host Potosi in today’s semifinal round.
Brayden Manion allowed a run on three hits and struck out four over 3 2/3 innings. He retired two batters in the third after Blackcats hurler Bryant Barks scored on a passed ball, and was promptly rewarded with a sizable lead.
Barks walked three of the first four batters in the Central third, the last of which gave Zach Manford a RBI. Mitchell loaded the bases with a bunt single as the Blackcats left first base vacated.
Reid Lucas broke a 1-1 tie with a two-run single to right, and Joey Hagan followed with a RBI single to left. Lucas later tripled off reliever Tanner Ward for his second hit, and Hagan finished 2-for-3 at the plate.
Josh Scherffius added a RBI ground out and Collin Manion’s infield single capped the pivotal six-run rally.
Fredericktown (5-17) picked up a run in the sixth on singles from pinch-hitters Drake Spangler and Jesse Stufflebean, but were otherwise unable to mount a final threat.
Barks finished 2-for-4 overall while Jeremy Gremminger and Brady Brewen had a single and walk for the Blackcats, who ended their season on an eight-game losing streak.
Fredericktown stranded runners at the corners in the opening frame after Barks and Brewen singled. A difficult catch in foul territory by Manford helped Garrett Manion get through the scoreless inning.
Scherffius finished with three RBI after his two-run double extended the Central advantage to 8-1 in the fourth.
Fredericktown 001 001 0 – 2 7 1
Central 006 201 x – 9 11 1
WP – Brayden Manion 3 2/3ip 1r 1er 3h 4k 2bb.
LP – Bryant Barks 3 2/3ip 8r 8er 9h 3k 5bb.
Fredericktown – Bryant Barks 2-4, Drake Spangler 1-1, Jesse Stufflebean 1-1, Jeremy Gremminger 1-2, Brady Brewen 1-3, Jake Massey 1-3.
Central – Derek Mitchell 3-3, Joey Hagan 2-3, Reid Lucas 2-4, Jake Rhodes 1-2, Collin Manion 1-3, Zach Manford 1-3, Josh Scherffius 1-4. 2b – Scherffius. 3b – Lucas, Mitchell.