Hornets’ 7-run fourth breaks open game with Watson Chapel
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Photos by Rick Nation
Evan Jobe started it with a single and finished it with[more] a double as the Bryant Hornets struck for seven runs in the fourth inning to blow up a close game with the Watson Chapel Wildcats on Thursday in the season’s first game at Bryant High School Field.
The Hornets went on to a 10-4 win over the Wildcats, improving to 2-0 on the season going into a game scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m., at Lake Hamilton, weather permitting.
Caleb Milam and Tyler Nelson combined to scatter seven hits while striking out eight and allowing just one walk. Milam picked up the victory, working the first five frames. He has six of the strikeouts without surrendering a free pass.
Offensively, Jobe finished with three hits. Landon Pickett and Dylan Cross had two each while Pickett, Nelson and Tyler Brown drove in a pair apiece.
Bryant held a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Jobe rifled a 2-2 delivery up the middle for a single. The Wolves looked like they might be out of the inning when Ozzie Hurt followed with a bouncer to second. But, in trying to start the double play, the throw missed connections.
Jobe and Hurt worked a double steal on a 2-0 pitch then Hayden Daniel proceeded to draw a walk to load the bags. Jobe scored on a passed ball and Chris Joiner walked to load the bases again. Nelson shot one to center for a double to drive in two and the Hornets led 6-2.
Pickett followed with a liner to right for a two-run single and, after Brown sacrificed, Cross singled to right to plate Pickett to make it 9-2. Marcus Wilson came on to run for Cross, the Bryant catcher, and, after Josh Pultro singled, Jobe capped the inning with a liner to left for an RBI double. Jobe tried to score on the play behind Wilson but was thrown out at the plate.
Neither team did much in the first couple of innings. Milam struck out the side around a two-out single by Collin Massanelli but then the Hornets went down on three straight flyballs. Milam struck out two more in a 1-2-3 second then Pickett managed Bryant’s first hit, a lead-off single to start the bottom of the second. He was stranded, however, when the next three struck out.
Chapel managed a one-out single in the top of the third but couldn’t move the runner. The Hornets broke the ice in the bottom of the inning and Jobe was the instigator with an infield hit. Hurt and Daniel each beat out bunt singles, loading the bases. With one out, Nelson reached on an error as Jobe scored.
Hurt was forced at the plate on a grounder to third by Pickett but Brown lifted a single to center that chased in Daniel and Nelson, making it 3-0.
The Wildcats broke through in the top of the fourth on a single, a double, a sacrifice fly and a groundout. Milam ended the inning with a strikeout and the Hornets’ game-changing home fourth commenced. He would ease through a 1-2-3 fifth then give way to Nelson in the sixth.
Chapel took advantage of a pair of errors to get a run in the sixth. A walk and a pair of singles produced a run in the top of the seventh before Nelson closed it out.