NEW PORT RICHEY — The first time Gulf loaded the bases Thursday, it didn't turn out well. Hanna McCarthy, in the middle of the missed opportunity, didn't let the scenario repeat itself.
McCarthy's two-run double gave the Bucs, down 3-0 early, their first lead on their way to a 12-3 win over Academy of the Holy Names.
"The fifth inning seems to be when we get it going," McCarthy said. "And just like that, we end up with 12 on the board."
But it was not just like that in the first inning. The Bucs loaded the bases with no outs before AHN sophomore Taylor Shaw got out of it. With one out, shortstop Sydney Coleman made a tough catch on McCarthy's foul ball.
Shaw struck out only one but stood to get a win as the Jaguars (5-3) built a 3-0 lead on an unearned run in the first and a two-run double to rightfield by Devin Lewis in the fourth.
But Haley McCarthy, who went 3-for-4, got the comeback going with a triple to score her sister in the bottom half. Then Gulf sent 12 to the plate in the fifth.
"We had to adjust. We were taking a lot of aggressive swings," said Gulf coach Rick Hohenthaner, noting that was not the best way to go against a slow hurler.
Tarra Rice and Britney Pressler started the inning with walks. The bases were loaded after an error, and Madison Morlan's single made it 3-2. With one out, Hanna McCarthy blasted one to right to make it 4-3.
"I wanted to hit it so hard," she said. "I wanted the cover to come off the ball."
Haley McCarthy singled to make it 5-3, and Rice's two-run single extended the lead. Rice's RBI triple highlighted the six-run sixth.
Presler got the win in her second start, and Morlan, the senior, went the final two innings.
The Jaguars are working through a youth movement in pitching with freshman Allie Weachter getting the bulk of the duty along with Shaw. Weachter relieved with the score 5-3.
"Our pitchers are young," coach Don Barron said. "We were up 3-0 then a couple of walks, a hit or two. But that happens against a good team like Gulf. I like how we're progressing. We're working hard."
AHN freshman catcher Brittany Bramwell had two singles.