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HomeSportsBaseballEllis and the Leopards Beat Bears with Batting Barrage

Ellis and the Leopards Beat Bears with Batting Barrage

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It all came together for the Hernando Leopards (15-7) on Friday night. After back-to-back close calls earlier that week, the Purple-and-Gold delivered a 16-0 decimation of Central (10-12) in four innings at the Bears’ Den. Sophomore Kaine Ellis and company erupted for a 13-run second inning, and Leopards’ Head Coach Tim Sims was pleased with how his squad settled in and got to work.

 

 

“After the kind of year we have had – everybody hit tonight,” Coach Sims said. “That is the first time really in the entire season that we actually [were] plus-plus at the plate for every one of us. Did a very good job and came together tonight. Like I said, it is not from the lack of trying. We were maybe trying too hard or creating too much competition, but we did a good job of hitting the ball tonight.”

 

Hit the ball well they did. Heading into the second frame, the Leopards carried a 1-0 lead. Then, things got out of hand quickly. The visitors would find so much success in the top of the inning that the Bears would be forced to make not one but two pitching changes in that timespan.

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After a quick strikeout of Senior Carlos Oliveros, Junior Mason Morgan hit a double down the third base line and Senior Bryce Saltsman was walked. After Junior Jordan Lendo was brought out on the bump, things went from dicey to disastrous for the home team. A wild pitch on the next at bat would put runners in position to score before Ellis’ hit to rightfield ran Morgan across home plate.

 

Sophomore Ausin Knierim’s ground ball single would immediately run another pair of Leopards home as things continued to go sideways for the Navy and Silver. Junior Eric O’Dell was hit by a pitch and Central’s Junior Korbin Baskind narrowly missed a would-be sliding catch. Now, the bases were loaded.

 

Then, eight of the next nine at bats would see one or more runs added to the scoreboard. Before the Bears knew what hit them, they were trailing 14-0 and were forced to send another pitcher to the mound. Over what would become the final two frames, Hernando snuffed out a pair of near-scoring opportunities at the plate while tacking on two more scores of their own. It was a cathartic night for the Purple and Gold as their recent outings had been anything but smooth.

 

“Tuesday was a knockdown drag out game with Central against Tranum,” said Coach Sims. “It was a close game, not a lot of hits. Just very well-pitched pitching and defense game Tuesday. Then, last night we played nine innings against Bishop in probably the sloppiest game mentally and physically that our team has played all year. So, we have gone from North Pole of last night being mentally and physically sloppy […] The good thing with baseball is when the sun comes up, we got another game to play.”

 

Hernando High catcher Kaine Ellis waits to put a tag on sliding Central High base runner, 24, Jayden Warren Friday in Brooksville. Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Hernando High catcher Kaine Ellis waits to put a tag on sliding Central High base runner, 24, Jayden Warren Friday in Brooksville. Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]

This was helped tremendously by Ellis, who was one of three sophomores to start for the Leopards on Friday. He was responsible for multiple runs being scored and was awarded the Glory Days player of the game. Coach Sims was effusive in his praise for the sophomore, the mindset he brings to the team, and his ability to learn.

 

“You do not get that type player through your program every year, every six-seven years,” said Coach Sims. “He plays the speed of the game at ease. When I say that, it does not matter the level of velocity or timing on it. He can play the speed of the game. That is the best compliment I can give a player. His leadership skills in handling the pitchers. He is learning that and learning the game within the game and situational stuff he picks up very easily. He does not make the same mistake twice […]”

 

The Leopards’ coach complimented his opponent, noted the Bears missing players, and credited his squad for creating plays. He will hope to get more strong play from Ellis and more complete performances from his team heading into the postseason.

 

Central High, 10, Talyn Poole watches his lead off blast that resulted in a triple Friday against Hernando at Central High.  Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Central High, 10, Talyn Poole watches his lead off blast that resulted in a triple Friday against Hernando at Central High. Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Central High, 55, Dylan Lama pitching in relief against visiting Hernando High Friday.  Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Central High, 55, Dylan Lama pitching in relief against visiting Hernando High Friday. Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Central High Head Coach Al Sorrentino waits on the mound during a pitching change in the game against visiting Hernando High Friday. Also pictured Korbin Baskind, center, and 36, Jacob Lugo. Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Central High Head Coach Al Sorrentino waits on the mound during a pitching change in the game against visiting Hernando High Friday. Also pictured Korbin Baskind, center, and 36, Jacob Lugo. Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Hernando High, 23, Eric O’Dell gets to first base the hard way after being hit by a pitch Friday in the game at Central High.  Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Hernando High, 23, Eric O’Dell gets to first base the hard way after being hit by a pitch Friday in the game at Central High. Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Central High, 2, Korbin Baskind pitch in relief against visiting Hernando High Friday.  Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Central High, 2, Korbin Baskind pitch in relief against visiting Hernando High Friday. Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Central High, 24, Jayden Warren dive back to first base before Hernando High first baseman Eric O’Dell could apply a tag Friday at Central High. Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Central High, 24, Jayden Warren dive back to first base before Hernando High first baseman Eric O’Dell could apply a tag Friday at Central High. Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Hernando High’s Carter Caraynoff took the mound in the away game against Central High Friday in Brooksville. Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Hernando High’s Carter Caraynoff took the mound in the away game against Central High Friday in Brooksville. Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Hernando High’s Carter Caraynoff took the mound in the away game against Central High Friday in Brooksville. Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Hernando High’s Carter Caraynoff took the mound in the away game against Central High Friday in Brooksville. Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Central High second baseman, 36, Jacob Lugo makes sure of a catch in the first inning of the game against visiting Hernando High Friday.  Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Central High second baseman, 36, Jacob Lugo makes sure of a catch in the first inning of the game against visiting Hernando High Friday. Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Ryan Engley started the home game for Central High Friday versus Hernando High. Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Ryan Engley started the home game for Central High Friday versus Hernando High. Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Ryan Engley started the home game for Central High Friday versus Hernando High. Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]
Ryan Engley started the home game for Central High Friday versus Hernando High. Photo by [Joseph Dicristofalo]

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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