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April 26, 2014

HUNTSVILLE BASEBALL — Hornets beat Willis in season finale

Huntsville gets out to hot start, rolls to 7-4 victory over Wildkats

HUNTSVILLE — Coming into its final game of the season, the Hornets baseball team had won three straight games.

Huntsville wanted to finish the season on a high note with another victory.

They did just that after defeating Willis 7-3 on Friday night.

“It meant a lot for us to close out well,” Hornets coach Brad Bohannon said. “They kept fighting to the end.”

Even though Huntsville fell short of the playoffs, it was a perfect way for seniors Dez Johnson and Tanner Holly to finish their high school careers.

“(The season) definitely had its rough spots,” said Holly, who pitched four innings and got the victory. “In the end it was all worth it.”

Though Willis had runners in the first two innings, they couldn’t capitalized on their opportunities.

However, the Hornets (5-11 in District 18-4A play, 7-18 overall) capitalized on their opportunities when it counted.

After Huntsville’s Drayton Pittmon connected for a one-out single in the bottom of the first, he advanced to second on a Wildkat error that allowed Tyler Easterling to reach first.

Holly helped his own cause by hitting an RBI single up the middle that scored Pittmon from second for a 1-0 advantage.

The Hornets struck again in the bottom of the second inning to take a two-run lead.

Johnson led off the second inning with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Thomas Zaiontz.

With two outs, Johnson scored all the way from second after they tried to pick him off, but threw the ball away into center field.

The Hornets tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the third inning to extend the lead to 5-0.

Willis finally broke through in the top of the fourth to cut the lead to 5-1 on a RBI single by Cade Ashton.

Things got interesting in the top of the fifth when Willis (5-11, 7-15) loaded the bases  with no outs and Christian Kuhl issued a walk to bring home the second run to cut the lead to 5-2.

That was when Bohannon brought in Johnson, who started the game at first base, in to stem the tide.

Johnson struck out Hunter Surtain for the first out, got the second out on a fielder’s choice play that allowed Willis to score the third run, and fanned Brooks Jackson to end the threat.

“Dez has been great for us all year,” Bohannon said. “He hadn’t pitch in over a week and we knew he was fresh. We knew if Tanner got into any trouble, we would bring him in.”

That allowed the Hornets to tack on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to extend the lead to 7-3.

Johnson got the necessary outs in the final two innings to seal the game for the Hornets.

“This year, we wanted to go out on a high note,” Johnson said. “I had a lot of pressure on me. I wanted to win.”

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