Buchholz wins 10th straight vs. GHS

Buchholz's Hudson Sapp dives safely back to first base in the bottom of the third inning against Gainesville's Connor Kemph.
Buchholz's Hudson Sapp dives safely back to first base in the bottom of the third inning against Gainesville's Connor Kemph.
Photo by C.J. Gish

The dominance continued for the Buchholz baseball team against Gainesville High.

On Wednesday night at Bobcat Park, Buchholz exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the third inning in an 11-1 win in six innings.

It was the 10th straight win in the series for Buchholz (12-6) and their 19th win in the past 22 games against their city rival.

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“Bobcat pride, right?” said Buchholz coach Ron Brooks. “That’s kind of what we talk about, and one thing we take pride in is protecting our home field, especially against city and county opponents, and we take it real personal about playing GHS. I’ve got a ton of respect for them, I have since I got here, but we definitely want to beat them. One of our goals at the beginning of the year is to win our city and county games.”

Buchholz's Noah Hayse (9) steals second base in the bottom of the first inning against Gainesville's Anthony Dang.
Photo by C.J. Gish Buchholz’s Noah Hayse (9) steals second base in the bottom of the first inning against Gainesville’s Anthony Dang.

GHS needed to get off to a good start, and they threatened early.

The Hurricanes (6-11) loaded the bases in the top of the first inning on a walk, an error, and a hit, prompting a visit to the mound by Brooks.

However, senior pitcher Austin Cardozo (3-2) struck out the next three batters to end the threat.

“Ron came out and talked to me and I settled down, let my fastball work,” Cardozo said. “I should have overpowered those guys all night.”

For most of the night, he did.

He struck out the side in order in the second inning and had eight straight strikeouts after the jam in the first inning.

“That got his pitch count up a little bit,” Brooks said. “Any time you have that many strikeouts, you’re throwing a lot of pitches, but to see him out there compete and battle was good. He established his fastball tonight and kind of was on a roll there for a while during the game.”

Cardozo (4.1 IP, 2H, 1R, 5BB, 11K) said he stuck with his fastball since it was working early.

“The arm felt good,” he said. “I didn’t really feel the need to go to the off-speed pitch.”

Through the first two innings, Buchholz managed just one base runner off sophomore pitcher Chance Mandarino, leading to a pep talk from their head coach.

“Things were a little flat tonight I think on both sides, which is surprising for a rivalry game a little bit, but anything I can do to get our guys going with a little more energy in the dugout I’ll try to do,” Brooks said.

Buchholz pitcher Austin Cardozo struck out 11 and allowed two hits and one run in an 11-1 win over Gainesville.
Photo by C.J. Gish Buchholz pitcher Austin Cardozo struck out 11 and allowed two hits and one run in an 11-1 win over Gainesville.

It worked.

Buchholz sent 11 batters to the plate and scored seven runs on five hits, a walk and two GHS errors.

The Bobcats also had four stolen bases in the inning.

A throwing error by Mandarino (2-4) on a fielder’s choice by junior Kai So scored freshman Hudson Sapp, who had walked, to give Buchholz a 1-0 lead.

Two batters later J.J. Gardner (1-for-2, 2 RBI) tripled down the third base line.

The junior’s extra base hit brought home sophomore Blake Brewer and So for a 3-0 lead.

It would prove to be the game-winning hit.

“He put a good swing on it down the line right there in front of me and he kept going, ran the bases well, and we were lucky enough, not many triples in this ballpark so it was good to see one for once in a while,” Brooks said.

Junior Cedaris Smith (1-for-2, RBI, RS) and senior Conner Brown (1-for-2, RBI, RS) had consecutive RBI singles to extend the lead to 5-0.

Aiden Kastensmidt finished off the inning with an RBI single to left field for a dominating 7-0 advantage.

The sophomore also came in for Cardozo in the fifth, allowing no runs on one hit with one walk and four strikeouts in 1.2 innings of relief.

The Bobcats were able to get 16 players up to the plate, including junior reserve Nick Moore, who took advantage of his fourth and fifth plate appearances of the season by going 2-for-2.

Buchholz's J.J. Gardner two-run triple in the bottom of the third inning gave the Bobcats a 3-0 lead over Gainesville.
Photo by C.J. Gish Buchholz’s J.J. Gardner two-run triple in the bottom of the third inning gave the Bobcats a 3-0 lead over Gainesville.

“It was fun,” Brooks said. “We got a lot of guys in the game. Anytime we get ahead like that it allows you to do that. We’ve got a lot of kids that work hard and deserve to be out there and it was good to reward them tonight.”

Moore singled in a run in the fourth inning for an 8-0 lead.

GHS avoided the shutout with an RBI single to right field by sophomore Connor Kemph, who led the Hurricanes at the plate by going 3-for-3.

He had all three of the hits for the Hurricanes, who will host the Bobcats at 7 p.m. on Friday in the second game of the two-game series.

Cardozo and the seniors will get a chance to finish their high school career unbeaten against the Hurricanes.

“It’s a lot of fun always playing against these guys,” Cardozo said. “It’s always competitive. We’re pretty much always the better team but we don’t ever act like it. We come out here same game, same competitor, we just come out here and play our game.”

Gainesville coach Adrian Ramos (third from right) talks to pitcher Chance Mandarino (24) and the Hurricanes' infield during Buchholz's seven-run third inning.
Photo by C.J. Gish Gainesville coach Adrian Ramos (third from right) talks to pitcher Chance Mandarino (24) and the Hurricanes’ infield during Buchholz’s seven-run third inning.

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