BROOKSVILLE — In the first three weeks of the season, the Hernando High baseball team was still trying to figure things out. The Leopards lost four of their first nine games and were coming off a 4-0 loss to Bishop McLaughlin in the Florida Farm Bureau Classic during spring break.Then things really started to click.The Leopards ripped off seven straight games in which they scored 10 or more runs. By the time the team boarded a bus for a two-game series at Key West, they were on a 10-game win streak.“I think more than anything we are playing team ball,” senior Carson Lashley said. “That’s the story of this season. We started off the season slow, but then everyone realized they had a role to play. Everyone is coming through for us right now.”The win streak ended in the Keys when Hernando lost the first game 5-3. The Leopards bounced back with a 3-0 win before making the long trip back to Brooksville. The trip was beneficial in more ways than just quality competition.“When you are stuck on a bus for eight hours there and back, you have no choice but to bond,” Lashley said. “We lost our first game, but we showed that we were there to compete when we won the second game.”Hernando, which entered the final week of the regular season 18-5, had only a few days rest before taking on rival Springstead. All signs pointed to a letdown. Hernando beat Springstead 11-1 in the first meeting. This time around the Eagles were throwing ace and USF commit Jack Jasiak. But the Leopards managed to get three runs off Jasiak and Marrick Aske pitched well enough to secure a 3-2 win . After that came a 12-2 win over Weeki Wachee.“This team, between the ears, is maturing right before our eyes,” Hernando coach Tim Sims said. “From the first pitch in the summer until now, they are maturing.”And they are winning with no real superstar. Connor Morgan provides power with four home runs and a .328 average. Broc Valdez (.422, four doubles), Lashley (.385), Steve Taylor (.321, eight doubles) and Dylan DuPhily (.364, six doubles) are all tough to deal with.“I think we just realized that we need to shorten up the swings and just try to get on base,” DuPhily said. “Everyone has to contribute.”Aske has emerged as the top starting pitcher, though he doesn’t have a blazing fastball. He has pitched 43 innings and is 6-2 with a 2.12 ERA. Lashley is 6-1. DuPhily and Preston Black have been used in save situations.“We started out down, but over time we’ve started to jell,” Aske said. “We started to play baseball.”Sims said the reason for the late-season resurgence is pretty simple. His team plays good defense, puts the ball in play and throws strikes. He said competition has given his team extra incentive.“We’ve got 12 guys for nine spots,” Sims said. “That in itself has created tremendous focus.”The Leopards did not end last season on a high note. They lost to Nature Coast in the district final, then fell 10-0 to Orlando Bishop Moore in the region quarterfinals.The goal has been to get back in position to make the region tournament. Cypress Creek has emerged as one of the top teams in Class 5A, District 7. Hernando and Cypress Creek split two games this season. The Leopards’ only other district loss was to Nature Coast in the second game of the season.That seems like a long time ago. Hernando has become a team that enjoys putting pressure on opponents.“We’re comfortable in uncomfortable situations,” Sims said. “When we can make it uncomfortable for both teams, then my guys are comfortable.”Contact Rodney Page at email@example.com . Follow @RodneyHomeTeam.