Opportunistic Hornets shackle Watson Chapel
EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continue posting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
By ROB PATRICK
SHERIDAN — Through six innings of Saturday’s Sheridan Invitational Tournament, the Bryant Hornets had managed just three hits and the Watson Chapel Wildcats only two. Though few, the Hornets had made the most of their hits to produce a 5-0 lead.
Senior right-hander Michael McClellan gave up two more hits and his only walk of the game in the top of the seventh but struck out the last two he faced to make that a final score, a four-hit complete-game shutout.
The Hornets improved to 4-2 and advanced to the tourney semifinals against Warren on Tuesday.
The opportunistic Hornets needed just one hit to push three runs home in the first inning, then added two runs in the third with just one hit.
The lone Chapel hits until the seventh were an infield single by Mark McGahhay in the second and a single between third baseman Zack Dickson and the bag by Jason Miner with one out in the fourth.
In the Hornets’ first, Matt White led off with a walk. He swiped second and went on to third when Chris Casteel, the Chapel catcher, overthrew to second.
White scored when Wildcats’ starter Josh Nagle balked.
Brandon Nichols walked then raced to third on a perfectly-placed hit-and-run single by Dustin Morris.
Morris stole second but, two outs later, runners remained at second and third. Matt Brown struck out but the third strike got past Casteel and rolled to the backstop allowing Brown to reach first safely as Nichols raced home.
Up 2-0, Hornets’ coach Terry Harper called for a double-steal and when Brown drew a throw from Casteel, Morris scampered home to make it 3-0.
In the third, Morris grounded to first with one out. But Miner kicked the ball and Morris hustled across the bag ahead of him.
A stolen base by Morris was followed by a walk to Anthony Rose. With two down, Brown slapped a looping liner to right for an RBI single to make it 4-0.
Rose went to third on the play and, after Brown stole second, scored on a wild pitch.
The only other hit the Hornets managed the rest of the way against Chapel reliever Jeremy Allred was a bad-hop single by Brown with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Allred and Nagle combined to strike out 11 Hornets.
But McClellan proved to be a bit better. After McGahhay’s scratch hit with one out in the second, McClellan fanned the next two.
In the third, Casteel reached on Bryant’s lone error of the game, but was stranded when McClellan struck out the side.
Miner’s single in the fourth was followed by consecutive flies to White in center to retire the side.
McClellan set down eight in a row before the top of the seventh when Miner led off with a scorching double to the fence in center. McGahhay received an “intentional-unintentional” walk on four pitches then McClellan got Allred to pop to Morris at second.
Chris Manning followed with a roller into the hole between short and third. It went for a single but shortstop Tad Beene saved the shutout with a back-hand stab that forced Miner to hold at third.
McClellan then closed out the victory with his ninth and 10th strikeouts, leaving the bases juiced.