Big Game Bryant

Sophomore Jagger Bryant shut down Avon and helped lead the Falcons to a 6-2 win in the first round of the MIAA state tournament yesterday on the road.

A year ago the Mashpee High School baseball team needed a miracle in the bottom of the seventh inning to take down Avon and advance in the state tournament. Yesterday, Thursday, June 6, all they needed was a great performance by a kid who didn’t play in that game to take down the Panthers.

Sophomore Jagger Bryant did not play baseball as a freshman because of arm issues. That right arm was just fine against the Panthers on the road in the first round. On a summer-like day in Avon, Bryant turned up the heat on the home team as he worked a fantastic contest to lead Mashpee to a 6-2 win.

MHS advances to the quarterfinals of the Division 4 south bracket. They will face off against fourth-seeded West Bridgewater, who defeated Sturgis East by a 3-1 score. The time and date of that game had not yet been decided at press time, but will be available on the MIAA web site on Friday.

Bryant allowed just three hits and struck out eight in the victory by the Falcons. He had the Panthers swinging at air for most of the day.

“I saw that they were really aggressive, so we threw a lot of (breaking balls) early on,” he said. “I felt good.”

He also felt good at the plate where he had his best day with a bat all season long. Bryant went 3-for-3 with a walk and drove home two runs.

The Falcons led the whole way. Colton Colleran led the game off by shooting a line drive to right-center and scored on a hit by Jared Barr to give the team a 1-0 lead. In the second the visitors tacked on another when Colleran, who had two hits in the game, singled to score Peter Gonzalez.

Avon’s big chance came in the bottom of the fourth. That frame was the one time in the game where Bryant did not seem absolutely in control after two straight walks and a wild pitch put men on second and third with no outs. He battled back, though, and allowed just one run in the inning. Two strikeouts and a walk had the bases loaded with two down and he was one batter away from getting out of it unscathed. His first pitch to the next man hit him on the leg and forced home a run. The sophomore showed poise, though. He got the next man to ground out to third as Avon left the bases loaded and still trailed 2-1.

Coach Dan Patenaude said that getting out of that inning was a shot in the arm for his team. They followed by giving Bryant some breathing room with a big four-run rally.

Willie Baker started things out with a single and then with one out Sean Clifford came up with a hit. AHS then gave Mashpee a gift when Nick Story’s liner to left was dropped. That loaded the bases for Byrant who drove in two with a solid hit. Zach Rogers then roped a double to left to make it 5-1 and Bryant later scored on a wild pitch.

It was easy for Mashpee after that. Bryant gave up one more, but was never in any trouble and retired the side in the seventh.

“He’s had to pitch in some games this year, and he got seasoned. He had some bumps against good competition, but he was ready for (this game),” Patenaude said.

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