TAMPA — Steinbrenner lost big March 25 to district rival Wiregrass Ranch in a mercy-rule shortened game. It was a low point for a team that started the season so strong.
But Tuesday, two weeks after falling to the Bulls, Steinbrenner was on the winning end of a lopsided score, beating King 11-2.
Having defeated one of the hottest hitting teams in the county, the Warriors had come full circle. To coach John Crumbley, that’s all just part of baseball.
“Baseball’s a failing game. You’ve just got to get back up and work on the things you do good and correct the things that you don’t do well,” he said. “And we’ve been able to do that recently.”
Tuesday’s win extended a four-game win streak for the Warriors, who have outscored opponents 37-6 in that span.
But experiencing rough outings and being better for it, Alex Hanson said, was exactly what Crumbley promised would happen if they refocused.
“He just told us to have better practices and work harder in practice and everything will turn out better,” the outfielder recalled. “If we’re a good team, everything will come through for us.”
Against King (17-3), which came in with just two one-run losses, that’s exactly what happened for the Warriors.
Steinbrenner kicked things off with a three-hit, four-run first inning, a deficit the Lions desperately tried to claw out of the rest of the evening. Warriors right-hander Brennan Garcia didn’t make it easy.
Garcia gave up just three hits in five innings. King finally scored a run and strung together a hit and a pair of walks to load the bases in the fifth. But junior Ryan Fatzinger came on in relief and got three quick outs before more damage was done.
After its busy first inning, Steinbrenner (15-4) had just three hits and one run in the next four frames. But in the sixth, the Warriors loaded the bases, then Hanson cleared them with a double to deep rightfield. Hanson, an Eastern Michigan commit who owns a .448 batting average, finished 3-for-5 Tuesday with four RBIs, while Mijon Cummings went 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
Having more than one Warrior with a big night at the plate was something Crumbley was glad to see, especially as the regular season nears a close.
Steinbrenner’s recent rough patch in competitive 7A-8 has made for what could be a dramatic district tournament, as four of the five teams own 5-3 district records.
For now, the Warriors are ready to ride the momentum through whatever comes their way.
“Any time you play good teams that’s good for you,” Crumbley said. “Especially if you play well.”