Bobby Gauvreau hit a three-run home run in the first inning, and Michael Chavis added a solo shot in the third to propel the Yellow Jackets to a 5-3 victory over Kell at Cadenhead Field.
Clint Coleman had Sprayberry’s other hit — a first-inning single up the middle that scored a run and advanced another runner to third.
Gauvreau also secured the victory from the mound, giving up three runs — one earned — off nine hits and striking out nine in six innings. Gerard Aucoin recorded the save after not allowing a hit in the seventh.
Aucoin inherited runners on first and second with no outs in the seventh. Rocky Brown, who was 1-for-2 with a walk and two runs scored, laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, but Aucoin got the next batter to hit into a double play to end the game.
“I thought it was a well-played game by both teams,” Sprayberry coach Phil Henderson said. “It just so happens that, when the smoke cleared, we were the ones ahead, and that’s a good thing.”
“Bobby pitched a lot better as the game went on, and our defense was able to help him out at the right moments.”
Kell (7-7, 5-5 Region 7AAAAA) took a 1-0 lead in the first when Brown drew a two-out walk and Brady Smith laced an RBI double down the third-base line.
Sprayberry (11-4, 8-2) quickly responded in the bottom half of the inning.
Jordan McClure walked and moved to second when Chavis was hit by a pitch. Coleman’s single scored McClure to tie the game, and Gauvreau’s homer scored Chavis and Coleman for a 4-1 advantage.
Kell chipped away at the lead with one run in both the second and third innings.
Jackson Jones led off the second with a single and moved to second off a passed ball. Jared Donald’s single up the middle pushed Jones to third, and an error in the outfield allowed Jones to score and trim the margin to 4-2.
An error in the third also contributed to a run.
Brown singled to lead off the inning and reached second on Smith’s single through the left side. An outfield error let Brown move to third on Smith’s at-bat, and Brown scored when Carson Hughes hit into a double play.
Chavis led off the bottom of the third with a home run to give Sprayberry a 5-3 advantage.
Gauvreau found himself in a tight spot in the fourth when two more errors put runners at the corners with no outs.
The Yellow Jackets’ defense stepped up, though.
After a strikeout, third baseman Alex Endres made a play at the plate with catcher Hunter Lyons to prevent Jared Donald from scoring. A groundout to second then ended the inning, allowing Sprayberry to maintain its two-run margin.
“Our defense picked up later in the game,” Henderson said. “The four-run first inning helped a lot because Kell is a very good team.”
Sprayberry needed its defense to come through because Kell starter Weston Schmitter didn’t allow a baserunner over the final three innings. But he gave up five earned runs on only three hits, while striking out three and walking three.
Smith batted 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI to pace the Longhorns.
“We came up one walk and one swing short,” Kell coach Keith Brown said. “We played well, but we made some mistakes, and we’ll grow from that. The kids played hard.”