Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Hornets Swarm Chargers, Take Game One

The sun was beating down Friday afternoon as the Hornets baseball team took the field against rival Cypress. The 94 degree temperature didn’t stop starting pitcher Dylan Prohoroff from keeping the the Chargers bats cool nearly all game long, en route to the Hornets 6-5 victory.

What was sure to be a pitchers duel between two of the OEC’s top hurlers Prohoroff and Cypress’ Nathan Kuchta, quickly became a one sided affair.

After a week off, the Hornets offense came out with a renewed vigor.

The Hornets would waste no time with the bats. Shortstop Laine Huffman led off the game with a line drive double. A couple batters later, first baseman Oscar Heredia singled, bringing Huffman home. After a Trent Hammond double, DH Shane Carrier singled and it looked like it would score both base runners, however Hammond was thrown out at the plate.

Coming up with four hits and two runs in the first inning, was the confidence boost that the Hornets needed against Kuchta. In their previous meeting, Kuchta held the Hornets scoreless for 8.2 innings before their bats came alive, falling into the category of too little, too late.

Head coach Nick Fuscardo said that getting off to a quick start was something they talked about all week.

In the second inning the Hornets got their small-ball game going. Catcher Garrett Basehart led off with a walk then Julio Rivera singled. With runners on first and second, Anthony Seminaris laid down a picture perfect sacrifice bunt moving both men over. Fullerton put another run on the board when Huffman grounded into a fielders choice that brought home Basehart.

“First thing we did on Monday was take the guys and really stress the bunt game and I think we played that pretty well today,” Fuscardo said.

In the fourth inning the Hornets cashed in on Kuchta’s mistakes. The Chargers ace hit the first two batters of the inning. Fullerton didn’t waste the opportunity, Huffman, Justin Row and Heredia had consecutive singles, adding two more runs to make it 5-0.

While Kuchta was laboring, Prohoroff was breezing through the Charger lineup, holding OEC’s top offense to one hit through the first five frames.

In the sixth inning the Chargers bats awoke as Prohoroff lost command of his breaking ball. With two outs and nobody on base, Prohoroff walked Tyler Gnesda. He then gave up back to back squib singles, loading the bases. Catcher John Santospago stepped into the box and drove a hanging cube ball over the outreached glove of center fielder David Miranda ten feet from the wall, clearing the bases and bringing the Chargers within two runs, 6-4.

“In the beginning I had my off speed stuff working for me, then in the sixth inning I started to lose it a little bit. Luckily I had command of my fastball,” said Prohoroff.

Kuchta and Prohoroff both settled into a groove the next couple innings, retiring the side in order.

The Chargers refused to go quietly though. Facing the first batter in the bottom of the ninth inning, Prohoroff threw a fastball inside that grazed the elbow of Austin Case, sending him to first. The next batter, Santospago came through again with a clutch single. Prohoroff managed to crank it back up though, getting the next two batters to ground out. However, Aaron Case’s ground out scored the runner from third and moved the Chargers to within a run.

With lefty Jack Flansburg due up, Fuscardo decided to finally pull his starter, bringing in lefty Jake Lyons to exploit the lefty-lefty matchup. Lyons did not disappoint, jumping ahead in the count and forcing Flansburg to pop-out to Seminaris in left field, ending the game.

Fuscardo was pleased with Lyons composure in such a pressure situation.

“I looked at the guys before the game and said ‘during this series, one of you in this dugout is going to be a hero, but it’s up to you’ and that was my lefty today,” said Fuscardo.

Prohoroff was really dominant for seven out of the 8.2 innings and even when he lost his command a couple times, he found a way out of the jam; finishing with four earned runs and three strikeouts on 117 pitches.

Kuchta labored throughout, but ended up going all nine innings, allowing six earned runs and striking out six on 127 pitches.

According to Fuscardo, the difference between this game and the last time they faced Kuchta was mindset.

“I told my guys ‘when you go into a playoff situation, it’s a whole new season and you know what, you guys are better than them.'”

The #12 Hornets definitely grabbed the momentum of the series away from the #5 Chargers with the win today.

Fullerton will try to come right back and do it again tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. It is a best of three series, so if FC wins the morning game, they will take the series. However, if Cypress takes the morning game, there will be an afternoon game, starting at 2 p.m., if necessary.

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