Loyd Star pitching puts Hornets baseball over Seminary

Published 10:29 am Wednesday, February 28, 2024

It was just a regular season game on a Monday night, but as the inning ticked by, the baseball matchup between the homestanding Loyd Star Hornets and visiting Seminary Bulldogs ramped up in intensity.

Scoreless through the first four frames, Loyd Star finally broke through with a three-run bottom of the fifth to earn a 3-0 win over the 3A Bulldogs.

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth, senior Brandon Burt hit a ground ball and reached via an error that scored junior Mason Smitha and put Loyd Star ahead 1-0. The Hornets and coach Jared Britt picked up another run later in the inning when junior Kayne Case scored on a wild pitch.

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The final Loyd Star run of the inning and the game came via a Nathan Mills double that scored Brandon Burt.

Sophomore Riley Case was outstanding on the mound for the Hornets. In 6.1 innings of work, he struck out eight, walked two and gave up four hits. Junior Eli Thornton closed the game out for Loyd Star on the mound, striking out the final two Seminary batters of the game.

Seminary countered on the mound with junior Landon Bush, who struck out 10 and walked two in four innings. Relief pitcher Dillon Dehaven struck out four as well for Seminary.

The 14 combined strikeouts are something that Britt wants to see his team improve on going forward.

“We definitely have to do a better job of putting the ball in play,” said Britt. “We struck out 14 of our 18 outs, so we were fortunate to come away with a big win against a Seminary team that’s always a contender to make a deep run in the 3A playoffs every year.”

Mills, Burt and Caleb Smith, all seniors, were the only Hornets to hit safely in the win.

Loyd Star started the season off with an 8-3 win over Franklin County in which Riley Case started on the mound and was relieved by sophomore Jake Smith.

They lost their next game 8-7 to Cathedral School in a game where Loyd Star led 7-6 going into the final inning before the Green Wave plated two runs to win it.

Columbia High topped Loyd Star 3-1 last week before the Hornets bounced back on Thursday with a 12-9 victory at home over the Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Saints.

The Hornets went 25-7 last season and lost in the second round to Lake in a 3-game series of the MHSAA 2A playoffs. It was the first time for Loyd Star to not reach at least the third round of the postseason since 2018.

The senior class is one that’s loaded with experience in Caleb Smtih, Conner Cunningham, Colby Terrell, Caden White, Chace Varnado, Jaden Lea, Caden Yarborough, Burt and Mills.

Loyd Star is schedule to be back at home on Thursday, hosting 5A North Pike High School.