BROOKSVILLE ― In the first meeting this season, Hernando used its bats to beat rival Springstead by 10 runs. This time around the Leopards used the arm of starting pitcher Marrick Aske and got key hits in two innings to beat the Eagles 3-2 Wednesday night.
Aske threw six-plus innings and scattered six hits. He outdueled hard-throwing Springstead starter Jack Jasiak, who struck out eight in the loss.
“I expected (Jasiak) to go all the way and when I go on the mound I expect to go all the way,” Aske said. “I couldn’t finish it, but I knew this was going to be a tough one.”
Aske was relieved in the seventh inning after giving up a leadoff double to Joey Hopper. Preston Black came in to get the final three outs and earn the save.
Springstead (18-3) managed to get a run off Aske in the third inning. Jake Miller led off with a double. With two outs, Jason Bienstock came through with an RBI single to make it 1-0. That lead did not last.
In the bottom of the third, Dalton Black got a one-out triple down the rightfield line. Carson Lashley brought him in with a single to right. Lashley stole second and Ryan DuPhily brought him in with another single.
Not to be outdone, the Eagles tied the score in the bottom of the fourth when Hopper drove in Jiovel Lantigua, who doubled to start the inning.
Jasiak settled down in the fourth and looked like he would zoom through the fifth as well. He got the first two outs on strikeouts, then Lashley singled for the third time in the game. DuPhily then doubled and just like that the Leopards (17-5) were up 3-2.
“I just wanted to shorten up on the swing and let (Jasiak) provide the power,” DuPhily said. “Just get the bat on the ball. It was an important run.”
It turned out to be the winning run. Aske got through the sixth, which included the two, three and four hitters, without a problem.
“In the sixth I had to bring something else,” Aske said. “I had to show them something they haven’t seen. I put a little bit more into the pitches in the sixth.”
Black came in with a runner on second in the seventh. He got a long flyout to center from Ivan Ortiz. Then Hopper was cut down at third trying to steal. Miller flew out to second to end the game.
“We’re going to throw strikes and play defense and try to not give away at-bats,” Hernando coach Tim Sims said. “We put ourselves in the exact situation we wanted tonight.”