Trinity Catholic eases past Hurricanes

The Gainesville Hurricanes baseball team had been off for a week and was looking forward to getting back on the field on Wednesday night. 

Unfortunately, the Hurricanes’ opponent, the Trinity Catholic Celtics, was in no mood to make Gainesville feel better about themselves. 

Trinity Catholic (Ocala) pulled away with an 11-run fifth inning and pounded Gainesville 14-1 at GHS’s Tiny Talbot Field. 

The Celtics (10-3) were smarting from a 10-2 home loss to The First Academy (Orlando), ranked No. 4 nationally by Max Preps, on Tuesday. Trinity Catholic actually outhit The First Academy 6-3, but Celtics pitchers walked seven and hit another eight batters in the loss. 

Trinity Catholic came north to Gainesville (4-7) looking to get back to their winning ways quickly. But it wasn’t that easy for the first four innings. 

The Celtics got on the board in the top of the first on a bases-loaded walk to Trinity Catholic’s starting pitcher Cole Stephens, but the Celtics left the bases loaded and the Hurricanes tied the game in the bottom of the inning as sophomore Josh Morison brought in Nathan Kemph from second base on an RBI single to right field. 

But that was all Gainesville could muster against Stephens, who allowed only one more hit to go with seven strikeouts and one walk in going the distance for Trinity Catholic. 

“He (Stephens) got better as the game went on,” Gainesville coach Chris Malphurs said. “We just couldn’t get anything going. We have injuries in certain parts of the order where we don’t expect much production right now.”

The Celtics took the lead for good in the top of the second as Miami commit Mekhi Griffin led off the inning with a homer down the right-field line against Gainesville starting pitcher Tyler Guarino. 

Gainesville's Bennett Bruggeman steals second base

Trinity Catholic extended the lead to 3-1 when Cole Gonzales led off the fourth on a homer to right field. 

Then came the decisive fifth inning as Trinity Catholic sent 15 batters to the plate, with six hits and six walks off three different Gainesville pitchers to score 11 runs. The highlight was a grand slam to right-center field for a 9-1 lead. 

“Trinity is good and we knew this could be a possibility tonight,” Malphurs said. “The stars needed to align with our pitching and that it could get out of hand. It was a good ballgame for four innings but the fifth inning got out of control.”

The Celtics had 14 hits, of which Guarino gave up 9 hits and 6 runs in 4 and 1/3 innings. Nathan Kemph and Jack Herrbold gave up eight runs between the two of them in the fifth inning.

“We just have to get better we just aren’t sharp right now,” Malphurs said. “It’s been tough to get in a groove because we were off for a while because of rain and then came back and played two games and then went on spring break.”

“Five of our losses have come to Columbia, Santa Fe, and Trinity Catholic,” Malphurs added. “Those teams have combined for four losses combined. So tonight we just tip our cap and control what we can control.”

Gainesville will host Belleview on Friday night. 

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