Pittsburgh-area team prevails over Hornets in Florida finale

Photos courtesy of JAnn Boyd Lessenberry

TAMPA, Fla. — The Plum Borough Senior High Mustangs of Pittsburgh, Pa., scored four runs in the[more] bottom of the third inning and it proved too much for the Bryant Hornets to overcome as they concluded play in the Tampa Bay High School Spring Training event at the Walter Fuller baseball complex this afternoon.

Ty Harris (Photos courtesy of JAnn Boyd Lessenberry)

The 6-3 loss to the Pittsburgh team gave Bryant a 6-2 record during the week. The Hornets, now 12-6 overall, return to action at home on Monday, March 25, against Monticello with a varsity game at 5 followed by a junior varsity contest. At 1-1 in South Conference play, they’re set to visit league foe Little Rock Fair on Tuesday.

Friday’s game ended with the potential tying run at the plate. The Hornets had cut Plum’s lead to 4-3 in the top of the sixth. The Mustangs scored twice in the home half to extend the margin then the Hornets put a pair of runners on base in the top of the seventh only to have them stranded.

The Hornets threatened early and often. In the first, they loaded the bases when Drew Tipton was hit by a pitch and Austin Caldwell and Jason Hastings walked but all three were stranded as the Plum pitcher settled in and struck out the next three batters.

Harris struck out a pair in a 1-2-3 home first. Connor Tatum singled with two out in the top of the second but was stranded. In the home half, a lead-off single was erased when the Hornets turned a doubleplay, concluding Harris’ moundwork for the day.

Drew Tipton (Photos courtesy of JAnn Boyd Lessenberry)

Caldwell and Hastings walked to start the top of the third then Evan Lee beat out a bunt single to fill the sacks but, again, the Hornets couldn’t come up with the key hit to break through.

This time, Plum countered with four runs utilizing three walks and two hit batsmen with a pair of hits.

Bryant got on the board in the top of the fifth. Caldwell singled and Hastings doubled. With one out Brandan Warner drove in the first run with a groundout. Chase Tucker singled in Hastings and, though Justin Emmerling singled as well, the Hornets were unable to trim the lead further until the sixth.

In the bottom of the fifth, Blaine Knight, the third Bryant pitcher, got a strikeout then gave up a single. Another doubleplay ended the inning.

Tatum singled to start the top of the sixth then Tipton was plunked by a pitch. Caldwell sacrificed the runners to second and third for Hastings, who delivered a sacrifice fly to make it 4-3. With the tying run at second, however, Plum escaped further damage with an inning-ending strikeout.

Plum’s two-out uprising, spurred by a walk and an error, pushed the lead to 6-3 going into the seventh when, with two out, Emmerling walked and Dalton Holt singled to left. But a groundout followed, bring the game and the Hornets’ trip to Florida to an end.

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