DADE CITY — Hernando won’t scare anyone with its batting average. But when the Leopards do reach base, runners are in motion, balls get put in play, and the combination worked to staggering effect Tuesday night.
The Leopards defeated Pasco 10-4 despite not having a single run-scoring hit.
“We move the base runners and try not to have what we call dead outs. We sort of have to do it that way,” said coach Tim Sims, referencing the .219 team average Hernando had entering Tuesday’s game.
The Leopards (10-1, 8-0) actually had 10 hits. But four runs scored on a wild pitch or a Pasco error, and the others came on a bases-loaded walk and sacrifice fly.
In fact, of the game’s 14 runs only one took place on a hit, when Robbie Hanlon singled in Michael Hattaway to pull Pasco within 7-3 and chasing Leopards starter Justin Young in the bottom of the fourth. Daniel Miller came on to strike out slugger Turner Imhoff, who came in with a .565 average, then get A.J. Rainaldi on a long flyout to center.
Young had the only RBI of the night for Hernando on a sac fly. Andres Cabrera and Tyler Allen both went 3-for-4, singling to help load the bases in the fifth — when all three Leopard runs scored on Pirates errors.
Pasco, meanwhile, had problems when it got the bases loaded.
Hernando had gone ahead 3-0, but a leadoff single by Rainaldi, error and successful Malik Johns bunt forcing a late throw to third had the bags filled.
Pasco hit two straight balls to third baseman Kyle Kilbourne, who got the out at home, and on the second one catcher Austin Trevorton completed a double play by throwing to first.
The Leopards chased Pasco starter Corey Mills in the top of the fourth by scoring four runs for a 7-2 advantage. An error and two wild pitches made it 6-2, then Young added the sac fly.
Miller struck out three in two innings for the victory, and freshman Brad Ellis went the final two.
Hanlon, Tyree Austin and Sam Newton had three hits each for Pasco (4-3, 4-3).
Pasco had a couple of defensive highlights, notably Rainaldi nabbing a runner at first on a hit to right field. Johns made a tremendous snag on a Tanner Bammert hit in the seventh.