Bronson leads Hernando past Atlantic, 12-2
Ali Shenefield continued to deal and Ali Bronson knocked in five as Hernando beat Atlantic High School 12-2 Wednesday night.
Playing in a regional quarterfinal, the Leopards (20-9) got contributions from all over the lineup as they run-ruled the visiting Sharks (11-8) in five innings.
In the first Hernando went ahead on a Kaylee Frascatore RBI single. Despite being up 1-0, the Leopards had the bases loaded with one out, but Janea Mobley popped out to second base.
With Payton Bryan looking to escape the jam, Bronson punished a pitch to deep left for a grand slam, staking the Leopard offense to a 5-0 lead after one.
“It was huge, two outs bases loaded.” Hernando coach Kevin Bittinger said. “Her first regional at-bat ever, and it was huge. Huge. You know there were going to be nerves but that gave us a boost.”
The Leopards were far from done with the Sharks as they plated four more runs in the second.
NaKayla Roberts led off with a triple and scored on a Josey Sims groundout. Karli Kimbrough walked and Taliyah Dowdell singled to follow, allowing Frascatore to come up with runners on.
Frascatore would pop out, but Shenefield would help her own cause with an RBI single and Mobley followed suit with a 2-run single of her own.
Shenefield dealt through the games first four innings allowing one hit and striking out three (all looking), before she ran into a bit of trouble in the fifth.
Up 10-0, the Leopards allowed Atlantic to plate two runs in the top of the fifth on a Shannon Reilly double, extending the game to the bottom of the frame.
Bronson would flash the leather to end the fifth, saving two runs on a spectacular diving catch on a sinking liner in left.
“That catch was great.” Bittinger said. “That’s just a top athlete playing left field.”
Hernando would finish the game in the bottom half as Dowdell knocked in the first of two needed runs on an RBI Triple.
Frascatore came up and roped a single off the left field fence ending the game as Dowdell crossed the plate with the mercy-rule run.
Nature Coast knocked off Bishop Moore on the other side of the bracket 4-0, to set up a rematch with the Leopards.
Hernando will host Nature Coast Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Tom Varn Park. The Leopards won two games at Nature Coast including the district title, while the Sharks beat Hernando at Tom Varn this season.
For Live updates of that game follow Danny Aiello Jr on Twitter @DannyAielloJr