The Land O’ Lakes Gators (13-4) varsity baseball team defeated the Weeki Wachee Hornets (1-15) by a score of 14-0 on Thursday night in the Hornets’ Nest. The visitors scored early and often to shut out the Green and Black in five innings.
With the high school varsity baseball season hitting the homestretch, some teams are looking to add the finishing touches to promising seasons. Others are hoping to gain momentum heading into the offseason following less than ideal 2022 campaigns.
For Land O’ Lakes, they are the former as the team is currently sporting an eight-game winning streak following Thursday’s win over the Hornets. Unfortunately for the home team, they are the latter. With a single 11-10 win over the Hernando Leopards in March, Weeki Wachee has surely been looking to get things going. It was not meant to be this night, as the Gators jumped out to an early lead on their way to run ruling the Hornets.
The visitors opened the first inning putting a quick score on the board by way of an errant Weeki Wachee pitch. After getting on base, Gators Junior JP Pennella stole second and third before a wild pitch allowed Pennella to steal home. Weeki Wachee made it out of the top of the first only surrendering that run, but the Gators made short work of the initial period as well. Two of the Hornets’ first four batters were thrown out at first and struck out at the plate. The other two made it on base, but one Hornet overran second. This sent the home team back out on defense for the top of the second inning.
Then the bleeding started. Juniors Bradley Bloxsom, Corey Hodierne, and Dylan Makowski loaded up the bases for Land O’ Lakes before the squad suffered their first out. A triple by Pennella batted the trio home. The junior then found himself crossing home plate for the second time in as many innings followed quickly by Senior Timothy Dunn. Just like that, it was 6-0. Weeki Wachee managed to get off the mound without any further fireworks, but a quick three outs in their first four batters sent them back onto defense.
A tenuous situation turned into a blowout in the third following a quintet of wild pitches. One of these afforded Pennella his third trip across home plate. The junior also recorded two of his five RBIs this inning as the Gators poured on seven runs. After the lead ballooned to 13-0 in the third, the two teams held serve for the rest of the abbreviated contest. The fourteenth and final run was recorded by Hodierne in the penultimate period and the Gators wrapped their third consecutive shutout after the fifth inning.
Land O’ Lakes looks to avenge their only loss in their last twelve contests against the River Ridge Royal Knights (10-8) Friday night. Weeki Wachee will have two opportunities to put another notch in the win column on Friday as they travel to take on the Central Bears (6-12) for a doubleheader.