A lead-off single by Corbin Lindsay and pair of fifth-inning hits were the lone bright spots for Gainesville on Wednesday. After that, Aplachee took over as it put up 16 hits and scored three times off wild pitches as the Red Elephants lost, 12-0, at Ivey-Watson Field.
Gainesville (7-14, 2-6 Region 8-6A) starting pitcher Harris Bell went 4 1/3 innings, giving up eight runs and striking out four. Apalachee scored eight runs in the fourth inning, pulling away behind a flurry of singles.
“Honestly, we struggled from the get-go,” Red Elephants coach Adam Miller said. “We couldn’t put the ball in play. We had a rough time making their defense work, getting pressure on them. They did a great job of hitting single after single and stringing some big innings together, and honestly we couldn’t answer.”
Offensively, the Wildcats brought in a pair of runs off of wild pitches in the third inning. Defensively, Apalachee pitcher Alex Cook was in control from the beginning of the game, at one point striking out five straight batters.
Gainesville came into the fourth inning already trailing by four runs, and the game quickly got further out of hand.
Five straight Apalachee batters got on base to start the inning off, and all five would eventually score for the Wildcats. A couple of fielding errors for the Red Elephants wiped away a potential double play as well as turned a single into a double following an errant throw to first base.
Apalachee rounded the inning out by bringing in one more run via wild pitch to take a commanding 12-0 lead.
“They did a great job,” Miller said. “Can’t take anything away from them. But we’ve got to do a better job of at least competing. I don’t feel we competed all night. I feel like they did a better job at that. That’s where we are.”
Gainesville will get one more shot at the Wildcats on Friday when the two teams meet for the third time this year to finish up their regular season series. The Red Elephants have already dropped the first two games to Apalachee.
But while a series win is no longer on the table, Miller said Friday’s contest is still important for a Gainesville team that is reeling after losing four of its last five games.
“We need to do two things,” Miller said. “We need to salvage a game in the series, and we need to play a game that gives us some confidence. Right now, the kids’ confidence levels are very low. We’re hoping that they’ll step up on Friday and turn in an effort that resembles what they’re capable of. We’re a lot better team than we played like the last two games, and we hope that team shows up on Friday.”