Brigade in Cowdin Cup 2019

Junction City's Riley Taylor delivers a pitch against the Midwest A’s on Friday. The Brigade took Game 1 of the Cowdin Cup series.

JUNCTION CITY — On Friday night, the Junction City Brigade officially set their sights on defending their Cowdin Cup Championship that they conquered a year ago.

And they got off to a successful start, downing the Midwest A’s 6-1 in Game 1 of the title series.

Junction City turned to pitcher Riley Taylor to get the job done Friday. Taylor has been the Brigade’s go-to guy over the course of the season along with Jack Christian; Taylor has pitched in most of the team’s Friday-night home games this season.

Taylor rose to the occasion once again, ringing up seven scoreless innings for the Brigade when they needed him most. Tossing only 50 pitches on Tuesday night against the Kansas City Knights gave the Brigade the luxury of throwing Taylor back on the hill as soon as possible.

Taylor struck out four A’s on the night, allowing only four hits.

With Taylor’s impressive performance, JC only needed a couple runs to be able to pull away.

Zane Schmidt put the Brigade on the board in the fourth inning when he knocked an RBI double down the left field line, scoring Tyler Halstead from first base. Holding a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning, JC reverted to small ball to score again. Nic Swanson led off the inning with a bunt, which was fielded, but ended up as a throwing error after it sailed over the first baseman’s head. This allowed Swanson to sprint to second base.

Next up was Mac McCroskey, who like Swanson, bunted and was safe at first. This set up a sacrifice fly from Blaze Brothers to push the Brigade lead to 3-0.

In the next inning, McCroskey put the cherry on top of the win, launching a two-run home run. With the five-run victory, the Brigade are one win away from back-to-back Cowdin Cup championships.

Junction City attempted to claim the trophy Saturday, travel to Belton, Missouri, for Game 2. Results of Saturday’s contest were unavailable at press time.