Judging by the McDowell Titans’ Tuesday night performance against the South Brunswick Cougars, last week’s loss to Freedom was but a hiccup.
McDowell (13-8) defeated its visitors from the coast 7-3 behind the proven recipe of solid pitching and clutch hitting, and kept its State 4A Playoff hopes alive.
The Titans had won five straight until falling to their traditional rivals in the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference regular-season finale last week. But McDowell bounced back against the Cougars (10-9) to win for the 11th time in the last 15 outings.
Senior Brycen Seymore (5-2) was outstanding on the mound, allowing four hits and three runs in seven innings of work. Seymore struck out three, walked four and hit two. It was the third straight complete-game victory for Seymore, whose ERA is 1.05 during that span of 20 innings.
Seymore, who bats in the three spot, helped himself at the plate, as well as getting an assist from the other two hitters at the top of the order, Josh Maddux and Ethan Hamm.
The trio combined for six of the Titans’ seven hits and drove in five of McDowell’s seven runs.
Seymore was 2-for-3 with a double, three RBIs, a walk and a stolen base. Hamm also went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, a walk and a stolen base. Maddux, the leadoff man, was 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs, two runs scored and a stolen base.
Justin Davis (1-3, RBI) got the other McDowell hit and Ethan Davis drove in a run.
South Brunswick took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Cameron Burgess had an RBI ground-out and Isaac Stanley a sacrifice fly to stake Cougars starter Derek Astoske to an early lead.
But the Titans answered quickly.
Hamm reached on an infield single with one out in the bottom of the first. Seymore and Gage Gentry followed with walks to load the bases.
With two gone, Ethan Davis (RBI, BB) drew an RBI base on balls, and Justin Davis followed with a run-scoring infield single.
The score stayed 2-2 until the bottom of the fourth when the Titans surged ahead for good.
Three Young (2R, 2BB, SB) led off with a walk, stole second and scored on an RBI base hit to center by Maddux. Hamm delivered a sharp single to left that put runners at the corners, and Seymore followed with a sacrifice fly to right that made it 4-2.
The Titans put up a three-spot in the sixth for insurance.
Young led off with a walk and scored on Maddux’s one-out double to left. Hamm drew a walk, and Seymore drove both runners home with a two-RBI double to left that made it 7-2.
South Brunswick got within 7-3 on an RBI single by Aubrey Smith in the top of the seventh, but that was the extent of the Cougars’ rally.
Tony Hawke (double), Carl Stidham, Haiden Lynch (double) and Smith collected one hit apiece for South Brunswick.
Astoske took the loss, giving up four runs on five hits in four innings of work. He struck out three and walked five.
Justin Dula didn’t get a hit, but reached base twice and swiped two bags for the Titans, who went 6-for-7 on the basepaths as a team.
McDowell had another non-conference game Wednesday on the road at Owen, but results were not available at press time. The Titans beat the Warhorses 26-0 in the season opener Feb. 27. McDowell hosts the Asheville Trailblazers (home-schooled) tonight in the regular-season finale. The Titans will participate in the NWC tournament next week.
South Brunswick will stay in town and play a couple more games at Big League Camp. The Cougars played the Trailblazers Wednesday afternoon and will square off against Asheville High today at 4:30 at Big League Camp.