SPRING HILL — Tuesday night’s game showed why Hernando coach Tim Sims believes there is something special about this particular Leopards team.
Hernando maintained its undefeated record with a 6-4 victory over Springstead despite being only one strike away from its first loss.
“This group likes playing baseball,” Sims said. “They always fight until the end.”
Down 4-2 in the top of the seventh, Tyler Ledington reached base for the Leopards (6-0) before getting picked off by Springstead reliever Noah Siem. A strikeout by Tanner Bammert put Hernando against the wall. Justin Young doubled and Kyle Kilbourne followed with a walk.
With runners on first and second, Austin Treverton came to the plate. The senior catcher struck out but was able to reach first and extend the rally after the pitch got away from Eagles catcher Jonathan Brosher. Andres Cabrera walked to push in a run, and Siem was called for a balk to tie the score. Treverton was caught stealing home on a close play to end the frame.
“We make people beat us,” Sims said. “These kids are not going to be intimidated by anyone.”
After Hernando reliever Bradley Platt got out of a bases-loaded jam to end the seventh, the Leopards coaxed three straight walks to load the bases with no one out in the top of the eighth. Bammert pushed the go-ahead run in with another walk, and Young made it a two-run lead with an RBI groundout.
Platt earned the win on the mound after cruising through the lone 1-2-3 inning of the contest.
Young finished 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, a run scored, and two RBIs. He also started on the mound for Hernando, tossing 4 1/3 innings and surrendering only two earned runs while striking out six. He had almost no issues until the fifth inning, when an error in leftfield began to unravel the team.
Springstead (2-2) got a solid start out of Kyle Stein (six-plus innings, one earned run) before the Hernando comeback.