SPRING HILL — In five years, Bishop McLaughlin has enjoyed its share of success with two district titles and multiple state playoff victories.
But Tuesday night, the Hurricanes achieved something for the first time in program history.
On its homefield, Class 2A Bishop McLaughlin topped Springstead 5-1 for its first victory over a Class 5A team.
The accomplishment came on the shoulders of starting pitcher Andy Olaniel.
Facing one of the toughest lineups he will come across this season, Olaniel wasn't intimidated.
"I knew I had to hit my spots," he said. "I had to throw strikes and get ahead in the count."
That strategy worked throughout the performance. He not only pitched six shutout innings, striking out 10 and surrendering only four hits, but Olaniel was able to control the two top sluggers of the Eagles (3-3). Julian Perez and Brandon Brosher combined to go 2-for-6 with four strikeouts.
While Olaniel knew that runs would come at a premium as the Hurricanes (4-3) faced Springstead ace J.R. Wright, he was staked to a lead early behind some breaks.
In the third inning, Tyler Cooler (3-for-4, run, RBI) reached on an error by Springstead shortstop Will Pagan. He then scored when Dre Leal hit a ball that centerfielder Matt Campbell lost in the sky.
From there, the momentum was all on the side of Bishop McLaughlin.
The Hurricanes had a runner reach third in every inning, and the breakout three-run fifth finally knocked Wright out in favor of Eagles reliever Kevin Walls.
The win means a great deal to the team as a whole, sixth-year Hurricanes coach Nick Rodriguez said.
"We try to play really tough competition, and we know that Springstead is a good program," he said. "That's why we schedule them.
"We are building a program here, not just a team."