Despite constant rain and sloppy field conditions, Montesano starting pitcher Layne Bruner managed to put on a show for the scouts that were at Olympic Stadium to watch him play on Thursday.
Bruner’s stellar play on offense and the mound helped power the defending Evergreen 1A League champion Bulldogs to a 4-0 season-opening win over Hoquiam. The game was called after 5 1/2 innings due to rain and wet grounds.
In front of scouts from at least seven major league teams, Bruner, who has already signed with Washington State University, did not allow a hit and fanned seven Grizzly batters in four innings of work. The only blemish on an otherwise perfect pitching performance was a hit batter in the second inning.
Bruner also performed well at the plate, recording a single in his first at bat and an RBI double on his second trip to the plate.
“I felt good about Layne’s performance,” said his father and coach Mike Bruner. “He didn’t quite have his curveball working like normal, but he threw his fastball and change-up very well. I’m very proud of him. It’s not easy to play through distractions and weather like this.”
A scout from the Toronto Blue Jays noted that although Bruner seemed to be having a difficult time gripping the ball well enough to throw a sharp curveball, the speed differential between the senior’s fastball and change-up was very good, and his fastball topped out at an “impressive for the conditions” 87 miles per hour. The scout also noted that he is likely to return to watch Bruner pitch again.
In addition to the Blue Jays, the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Miami Marlins and San Francisco Giants all had scouts present at the game to see Bruner and “anyone else who stood out”.
After scoring a run on a throwing error in the first inning, the Bulldogs added a couple of security runs in the second when Shad Rogers doubled into left field, scoring Drew Helms and Kody Usher. Rogers went 2-for-3 at the plate.
Already leading 3-0, Montesano scored its final run in the third inning when Tucker Ibabao scored from first on Bruner’s double into the right-centerfield gap.
Matthew Jensen also turned in an impressive pitching performance for the Bulldogs. The senior pitched the final two innings of the abbreviated contest. He allowed just one hit and struck out six.
“Matthew pitched really well” Mike Bruner said. “He really had his fastball and curveball working today.”
Camden Anderson recorded the lone hit for Hoquiam, a deep single into the right-center field gap in the top of the sixth inning.
Jensen then walked Tristan Stutesman, putting runners on first and second. However, Jensen settled down quickly and struck out the final three batters.
The Bulldogs were scheduled to host Yelm today, while the Grizzlies travel to Cascade Christian.
Hoq 000 000 — 0 1 1 Monte 121 00x — 4 7 0
Lowder and Skinner; Bruner, Jensen (5) and Ibabao.
RBl: Montesano — Bruner, Rogers 2. Two hits: Montesano —Bruner, Ibabao, Rogers. Doubles: Montesano — Bruner, Nelson, Rogers.
Winning pitcher — Bruner (walked none; struck out seven). Losing pitcher — Lowder (walked two; struck out four).