Photos courtesy of Samantha Breeding
WACO, Texas — The Bryant Hornets built a 7-0 lead then held off a rally by the host Midway Panthers of Waco to extract a 7-5 win on Friday afternoon.
The victory made the Hornets two for two in the tourney. On Saturday morning, they were set to play Midlothian, Texas then Lee High School of Tyler, Texas.
Senior third baseman Brandan Warner had two doubles and two runs batted in for Bryant. Garrett Misenheimer also knocked in a pair.
Senior right-hander Blake Patterson pitched shutout ball for four innings while the Hornets built their lead. He wound up working six to pick up the win. He allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits with one walk which was intentional and a pair of strikeouts. Jason Hastings surrendered a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh before working closing out the victory with the potential tying runs at second and third.
“The kids did a great job,” stated Hornets coach Kirk Bock. “They didn’t panic. You could feel a little tension but, you know, we’ve got a bunch of kids out there that haven’t played (varsity) before. At that time, we had five guys out there that didn’t play (varsity) last year.
“So, I tell you, they did a good job,” he emphasized.
The Hornets grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the second. With one out, Warner drove one to center that was misplayed allowing him to reach second. Trey Breeding chased him home with a double to left. Courtesy runner Seth Tucker advanced on a wild pitch then scored on Misenheimer’s single to center.
Waco managed its first hit off of Patterson with two out in the bottom of the inning but he was stranded.
The Hornets went down 1-2-3 in the third and Patterson pitched around a hit batsman and a two-out single by Jared Pool.
“We may not see a better player that Pool this year,” said Bock.
But Patterson picked Pool off first to end the inning, getting the Hornets back to the plate. And they responded. Patterson got things started himself with a single to right. With Connor Tatum in to courtesy run for the pitcher, Warner mashed a double. Tatum scored on a grounder to short by Misenheimer that also got Warner to third. Dylan Hurt followed with a drag bunt that he beat out for a single as Warner sprinted home, making it 4-0.
After Midway was returned in order in the bottom the inning, Bryant capped of its scoring in the top of the fifth. Hastings drew a walk and advanced on a balk. He took third on Evan Lee’s grounder to the right side. Patterson drew a free pass and Tatum, back in to run for the pitcher, stole second to set the table for Warner. He laced his second double and it was 6-0. Warner wound up scoring on a wild pitch.
The bottom of the fifth began with a single by Midway’s Wade Sivess. He was forced at second on a grounder to Jake East at short by Jackson Burns. Nine-hole hitter Preston Palacious lined a single to left then Bryce Johnigan singled to left that was misplayed. Burns scored and the Panthers had runners at second and third.
After Patterson got Toby Jowers to pop out to Warner at third, he issued the intentional walk to Pool. But pinch-hitter Nathan Gonzales singled to left driving in two.
Patterson induced a grounder to third to end the inning with the Hornets still in control at 7-3.
Jordan Turner, the second Panthers pitcher, worked a scoreless top of the sixth allowing only a lead-off walk to Hurt. But Patterson set Midway down in order in the bottom of the inning.
The Hornets didn’t threaten in the top of the seventh but then Palacious greeted Hastings with a home run on a 2-2 pitch.
The Bryant lefty got Johnigan to fly to Logan Allen in right then induced a grounder to Patterson at first. With Hastings covering the bag, the duo missed connections on the throw and Jowers reached safely.
Pool rapped his second hit then Gonzales hit a sharp grounder to short that was booted. Jowers scored to make it 7-5 with runners at first and second. But Hastings got Carson Griffin to bounce to short. East, stepping up after his miscue, made the play and got an out at first as the runners moved up to second and third.
That brought up Stieler Harris who saw four pitches from Hastings as he struck out swinging to end the game.