Photos courtesy of Samantha Breeding
TAMPA, Fla. — The Bryant Hornets’ annual spring break trip to Florida began in fine fashion on Monday as the team picked up wins over the Buffalo Grove, Ill., Bison, 14-2, then blanked the Redhawks of Minnehaha, Minn., 4-0.
The Hornets were set to play their junior varsity against the Prospect Knights of Mount Prospect, Ill., on Tuesday morning. The varsity was scheduled to return Tuesday afternoon at the Philadelphia Phillips training facility to play the William Penn Charter School Quakers of Philadelphia, Pa.
Alex Shurtleff pitched the shutout on Monday, scattering eight hits and using three pickoff plays to get out of the few jams the Redhawks mustered. He struck out six without a walk.
Earlier, the Hornets put together a five-run fourth and scored six more in the sixth to support the pitching of Evan Lee and Seth Tucker. Lee worked the first four innings, allowing two runs, one earned on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Tucker finished with two scoreless frames, allowing a hit and a walk while fanning two.
Against Minnehaha, the Hornets took a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Connor Tatum got the uprising started with a one-out walk. With two down, he advanced on a wild pitch then scored on a single by Drew Tipton. After Tipton stole his way to third, Jason Hastings singled him in. And when Lee smacked a long double, Hastings scored all the way from first.
It stayed 3-0 until the home sixth when Tipton walked and, again, stole his way to third. Hastings walked and Tipton scored when Lee grounded into a doubleplay.
In the first game against Buffalo Grove, the Hornets struck for two runs in the second to grab an early lead. Brandan Warner singled and Trey Breeding drew a walk to set the table. With one out, Tatum singled in a run with Breeding racing to third. He scored on a passed ball.
The Bison clipped a run off the lead in the bottom of the inning but Bryant got that back in the top of the third when Hastings and Lee drew walks and Patterson singled to load the bases. Warner grounded into a doubleplay allowing Hastings to score.
After Buffalo Grove was unable to score in the third, the Hornets broke the game open with a five spot in the top of the fourth. Garrett Misenheimer doubled and took third when Tatum beat out a drag bunt. The duo worked a double steal and Misenheimer scored on the throw to second. Tipton walked and, after a double steal, Hastings hammered a two-run double.
Lee walked and another double steal occurred before Blake Patterson walked to load the bases. Warner drew an RBI pass then a run scored when Trey Breeding reached on an error, making it 8-1.
Buffalo Grove got its second run in the bottom of the inning and it stayed 8-2 until the Hornets blew it up in the top of the sixth. A base hit by Hastings opened the floodgates. Lee walked and both runners moved up when Patterson bounced to first. Warner got a run home with a sacrifice fly. Breeding drew a walk and Misenheimer singled in a run. Tatum took four to load the bases for Dylan Hurt who cleared them with a triple.
Tipton put the finishing touches on the uprising with another triple.
“We played pretty good,” said Hornets coach Kirk Bock. “Of course 12 walks helped but we did a good job of taking advantage of our opportunities.”