Prior to Thursday night’s baseball game between host Buchholz and rival Gainesville, the two teams honored Rex and Brody Reinhart, who were tragically killed on May 3, 2021.
They were both avid baseball players and Rex would have been a freshman in the Buchholz baseball program this year.
The boys’ mother, Minde Prince Reinhart, threw out the first pitch and the catcher used Rex’s glove to catch the pitch.
In addition, both teams were wearing custom shirts with the newly created Rex and Brody Foundation logo.
“It was touching,” said Buchholz coach Ron Brooks. “It was a great experience for everybody. I think it was good for our community to rally around a great cause. We wanted to make it special for Minde and honor the boys in a real respectful way. Overall, I think it was a really great night.”
The Bobcats put the finishing touches on the night with a 6-1 win against the Hurricanes.
With the game scoreless in the bottom of the third inning, Buchholz (12-5) loaded the bases with one out.
GHS pitcher Nate Kemph threw a wild pitch to score Cooper Collins for a 1-0 lead, and then freshman J.J. Gardner doubled to left field to drive in two more for a 3-0 lead.
“He really competes in the box, and competes on the mound, you may see him tomorrow night in relief, but a really good job by him coming up with the big hit,” Brooks said of Gardner.
Buchholz pitcher Austin Cardozo set the tone early.
The sophomore tossed a 2-hit shutout in five innings of work and picked up the win to improve to 6-0. He worked out of a one out, bases loaded jam in the second inning by striking out the final two batters.
“That’s what he’s really improved on is his focus and being able to get to the next pitch,” Brooks said.
Gainesville (6-10) missed another scoring opportunity in the third inning.
Kemph had a one out triple, but with runners on the corners, Andrew Pickles bunted into a double play, with a soft pop up caught by catcher Noah Hayse who threw to first to get Josh Morrison, who had walked.
Buchholz added two more runs in the fifth inning.
After Anthony Wilkie walked with one out, Hayse doubled to put runners at second and third base.
Ryan McCrackren grounded to first. However, first baseman Carter Jones threw home, and the ball sailed over the head of catcher Alex Meert, scoring two runs on the play for a 5-0 lead.
“The 2- and 3-run innings hurt us, but I was encouraged because this is the first time that we’ve had that lineup on the field since before spring break, dealing with injuries,” said Gainesville coach Chris Malphurs. “Our pitching was good. We got a good start from Nate Kemph, Andrew Pickles came in and threw well, we just made stupid mistakes, and Cardozo was tough early, it was just too much to overcome.”
Gainesville’s only run came on an RBI single by junior Jesus Canizalez in the top of the 6th inning.
The two teams will play again at 7 p.m. on Good Friday at Tiny Talbot Field on the campus of Gainesville High School.
The game will be broadcast online at MainStreetDailyNews.com beginning at 6:50 p.m.