hhs baseball

Tyler Park made an impressive first start for the Hornets, settling down after a tough first inning to lead Huntsville to a 2-1 win.

Tyler Park wasn’t very nervous when he took the mound Tuesday night despite the fact that he was making his first start of the season for the Hornets.

The senior right-hander had a little problem with his control and allowed two of the first three hitters he faced reach base on a walk and a hit batsman. But Park found a rhythm and shut out Waller for five innings, leading Huntsville to a 2-1 victory at Kate Barr Ross Park.

“I definitely didn’t get ahead in the count very much, and that was my biggest problem early,” said Park, who recorded seven strikeouts in the win. “But I was making my first start, and that was a new thing for me. I’ve never pitched more than two innings. I just came out there and did my best and let the defense do the work. They did a great job.”

The Hornets (3-4 in District 18-4A, 9-15 overall) didn’t have their best night at the plate. In fact, the Bulldogs outhit Huntsville 6-3. But a costly throwing error in the bottom of first on a double steal proved to be the difference in the game.

After Park was hit by a pitch to start the frame, left fielder Randy Benavides drew a walk to put two runners on base.

Hornets head coach Shelby Shaw then called for a double steal. The throw to third from Waller catcher Brent Herzog hit the ground and bounced into left field. Park quickly jumped up from his slide and raced home for the first run of the game.

With Benavides on third, first baseman Cody Gougler hit a deep fly ball to right for a sacrifice fly to put Huntsville up 2-0. The Hornets then got a pair two-out singles by Aaron Germany and Trevor Brazil, but nothing came of it.

Waller pitcher Kurt Hancock wasn’t overpowering, registering only one strikeout in six innings. Huntsville just couldn’t get anything to fall in.

“What we have to get away from doing is playing the opponent instead of the game,” Shaw said. “The intensity level last week when we played Brenham was wild. We were into it, the fans were into it and everybody was on their feet the entire game. Then tonight it was like a morgue out here. We have to play the game.

“We get to caught up in who we are playing instead of just enjoying playing the game. We can’t continue to do that if we want to get where we want to go.”

The Hornets only had two more innings when they could have added to their lead. In the third, Park ripped a leadoff single to right. Then with two outs, designated hitter Chase Ledyard was hit by a pitch, but Hancock got Germany to pop up to first to retire the side.

The final opportunity came in the bottom of the sixth when Huntsville loaded the bases with two outs. Germany got the rally started when he reached on a throwing error by the shortstop. Hancock then plunked Brazil and Zane Thompson before coaxing Ethan Smith to ground out to second.

“Not to knock their pitching or anything, but I think we could have hit the ball a lot better,” Park said. “We’ll be all right, and we will hit the ball better the next time out.”

Sophomore lefty Cole Sullivan pitched the final two innings to get the save. He gave up a pair of two-out singles in the sixth, but was able to get out of the jam without giving up a run.

The Bulldogs finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh thanks to an RBI single by Robert Loewe only to come up short in the end.

The Hornets have a big game Thursday at Livingston and need a win to keep pace in the race for the postseason.

“Livingston is a tough place to play,” Shaw said. “We have to understand that a W is a W, and we have to get one over there. Thursday is going to be a dogfight, and we have to be ready to get a win over there.”

Waller surprises Lady Hornets 5-4

Huntsville’s varsity softball team scored four runs in the first two innings Tuesday, but Waller rallied past the Lady Hornets 5-4 in a District 18-4A softball game.

Nena Gibson’s single in the first frame scored Caley Jeter, then in the second inning, Jeter drove in a run and Heather Adian plated two more. Waller changed pitchers and the Lady Hornets were held scoreless the rest of the way.

Huntsville (3-6 in 18-4A, 8-14 overall) collected only four hits.

“Once again, we had the hitting woes,” Huntsville coach Nancy Hopper said. “Other than not hitting when we needed to, we misplayed a couple of balls in the outfield that cost us a couple of runs.

“It’s getting late, but we’re not going to quit chasing a playoff spot until it’s completely out of reach.”