Hornets finish district home stand against K-Park

Mar. 15—HUNTSVILLE — Things started fast for Huntsville as they opened up District 16, 5A last week against the undefeated Porter.

While the Hornets took home the win, the next two games were not as favorable for the Hornets. With one game moved up a day due to the threat of weather, Kingwood Park came into the new field and took the win.

The Panthers were allowed several free bases and used those to bat around to put up eight runs as Huntsville's bats were quiet putting up just three over seven innings.

"We just weren't ready to get on the mound tonight. We gave them nine free passes and six of the nine scored. If you cut that in half, it's a different game from an offensive standpoint," Huntsville head coach Justin Jennings said. "K-Park is a good club, so they are 15-3. We just weren't good enough tonight. It was a tough week for us but we played everybody two more times. You wash it and move on and get better next week."

Jennings turned to senior pitcher Gage Dorris against the Panthers, which was his first start against a district opponent. Dorris, who is coming off Tommy John, was off from the start.

The first pitch out of his hand nearly hit K-Park leadoff man Blake Heckman, and two pitches later he would hit the lefty. Dorris found his control after a bunt but with a runner on the base paths, K-Park batted him around.

Dorris finished the game with 3 1/3rd innings pitched allowing five hits, five runs, striking out four and hitting another four batters.

The Hornets turned to William Barrett on the mound but he was unable to log an inning after getting into another jam. Colton Gilbert came in and redeemed himself from his poor outing on Tuesday.

"The first two guys struggled a little bit and Colton was solid tonight," Jennings said. "He put up some zeros for us and allowed us to crawl back. It's different if it's a two or three-run game at the end. We have to do a better job on the mound and Gage is coming back from Tommy John so he's going to struggle at times. We have to keep battling."

As pitching struggled, the Hornet bats were non-existent. Huntsville knocked three balls into holes for hits but that was much of the offense. The Hornets had one hit from sophomore Noah Nieto.

While Huntsville had seen free base runners, with five walks, it was the nine strikeouts that held them back from getting any offensive production.

Carson Woods, Jackson Slater and Christian Winston were the three Hornets to score a run.

"We have to get going offensively. We have too many guys not getting down what they need to at the plate," Jennings said.

Now the Hornets get to change up their mojo a bit. While they have played their last seven games at the new complex, they have an opportunity to hit the road and shake things off. The Hornets will continue the first round of district play with trips to Nacogdoches and Dayton to wrap up the first half.

"We open up district with a gauntlet. We go to Porter, Lufkin and K-Park, not taking away from the other teams, but the front part of our schedule is loaded," Jennings said. "We came out 1-2 and could have been 2-1, it just doesn't go that way sometimes. We are on the road next three and see what happens."

Huntsville will open the week with a trip to Nacogdoches. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday against the Dragons. The game will be broadcast on the 101.7 KSAM YouTube Channel. The Hornets return to the Huntsville Baseball Complex on March 28 against Porter.