WAXAHATCHIE, Texas — The Bryant Hornets baseball team had been scheduled to open the 2013 season[more] against a couple of pretty good Arkansas teams, making their season debuts as well. But when those games were weathered out earlier in the week, it meant the Hornets would open the campaign against some pretty good Texas teams, who all had already four or five games under their belts.
At the Robert Dulin Tournament in Waxahatchie, Texas, the Hornets engaged in a pair of pitching duels that both went the other way by the same 2-1 score on Thursday, Feb. 28. They suffered the first setback at the hands of W.T. White High School Longhorns of Dallas then the second against the host Indians of Waxahatchie.
On Friday, the Hornets were scheduled to take on the defending tournament champion Panthers of Midlothian, Texas then the Birdville Hawks from North Richland Hills, Texas. They wrap up the tournament on Saturday, March 2, at 10 a.m., against the Stephenville, Texas, Yellowjackets.
In the opener, Bryant’s senior right-hander Nate Rutherford went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts, while the Hornets’ hitters were held to a run on four hits. Shortstop Trevor Ezell had two of those safeties, including a triple that led to the lone run. Jason Hastings and Dalton Holt had the other two hits with Holt smacking a double.
The Hornets grabbed the early advantage in the bottom of the first. W.T. White had put two runners aboard in the top of the inning only to have the Hornets turned a doubleplay to get out of the jam.
In the home half, Ezell stroke a 3-1 pitch into right for the triple. An out later, Hayden Lessenberry brought him home with a sacrifice fly.
Bryant turned another twin-killing in the top of the second to negate a lead-off walk. In the bottom of the frame, the Hornets made noise as if to add to their lead. Hastings led off with a single to right and, an out later, Marcus Wilson was hit by a pitch. But this time, it was the Longhorns who escaped via the doubleplay.
The Dallas team tied the game in the top of the third with a one-out walk and a triple. The Hornets picked off the runner at third and Rutherford fanned a batter to keep it 1-1.
A two-out walk to Korey Thompson went to waste in the bottom of the third and W.T. White scored what proved to be the decisive run in the top of the fourth. A single and a walk set the table. After a force at third, a stolen base and an errant throw allowed the run to score ahead of another base hit.
With two on and one out, Rutherford recorded another strikeout and Bryant catcher Blaine Jackson gunned down the base-runner trying to steal third.
Holt belted his double to left with two down in the bottom of the fourth but was stranded. After Rutherford pitched around a two-out hit in the top of the fifth, the Hornets made more noise in the home half when Harrison Dale drew a pass, Tyler Green was hit by a pitch and Ezell singled. Pinch-runner Ty Harris tried to score on the hit but was thrown out at the plate as Green hustled into third and Ezell into second.
The Hornets tried to squeeze in a run but a two-strike foul resulted in a strikeout and, after Lessenberry was issued an intentional pass, Jackson just missed coming through with a big hit. Instead, he flew out to left.
Rutherford closed his work out with a 1-2-3 sixth then Hastings drew a lead-off walk in the bottom of the inning. Holt sacrificed him to second and pinch-runner Austin Caldwell scrambled to third on a grounder to the right side by Wilson. But he was stranded there when Holt’s grounder to short produced the third out.
In the second game, Waxahatchie scored twice in the bottom of the third and held on for the win when the Hornets rallied in the top of the sixth.
Bryant was limited to three hits but those included triples by Thompson and Lessenberry. The two-out three-bagger by Lessenberry came in the top of the sixth and drove in Thompson, who had walked. Lessenberry, however, was stranded as the Indians held on for the win.
Hastings had pitched around a two-base error in the bottom of the first and set the side down in order in the second.
The Hornets, meanwhile, went down 1-2-3 in the first two frames then Wilson opened the third with a sharp grounder up the middle for a single. Though he was able to move up to second on an error, Wilson was left on.
And, in the bottom of the inning, Waxahatchie mustered all the runs it’d need on a one-out single, a passed ball and another base hit. After a balk, an error put a runner at third. The run scored on an error.
Trailing 2-0, the Hornets threatened to get at least one of the runs back in the top of the fourth when Thompson led off with a shot to right for a triple. But he was stranded there when the Waxahatchie pitcher fanned two around a liner to center to retire the side.
The Indians threatened to score again in the bottom of the fifth. A pair of singles had runners at the corners. But Hastings struck out the next batter then picked off the runner at third to keep it 2-0 going into the sixth.