SPRING HILL — Hernando Christian coach Scott Boer hoped his players would seize the cloudless day at Bishop McLaughlin and make a resounding statement to their skeptics. He was counting on crisp fielding, clutch hitting. In short, he wanted carpe diem.
But for most of what turned out to be a brief afternoon, that Latin catchphrase seemed Greek to the Lions.
The chance for a victory against a quality foe rolled — quite literally — through the Lions' legs Monday. Class 2A Bishop McLaughlin (10-6) collected 11 hits and pounced on six Lions errors en route to a five-inning, 16-1 romp.
"It was the worst game since I started coaching here," Boer said. "The online comments in the newspapers, they say this and that about HCA, that they don't play any good teams. And I said, 'Here's your chance to earn a little respect.' And we drop an egg."
The Hurricanes batted around in the first two innings and watched seven of their nine starters get at least one hit. Jeff Pope and Mike Gonzalez, Bishop McLaughlin's No. 1 and 2 hitters, each had a pair of hits, while No. 8 hitter Mike Bennett had a two-run double.
"This is the first time in a couple of weeks that I feel like we came out with a little bit of a point to prove," 'Canes coach Nick Rodriguez said. "Really overall we've had a great season so we're continuing to build on it."
HCA, a Class A program that entered with a .429 team batting average, watched its bats go mostly silent against rangy sophomore David Heintz (4-2) and wiry freshman Andy Olanial. Heintz scattered four hits over the first three innings; Olanial was perfect over the final two.
"We came in intimidated," Boer said.