Baseball falls to Branford in the rain

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By Jenna McKenna

Sharks baseball got off to a great start against Branford in the rain Tuesday, holding onto a 5-3 lead through the fifth inning, but eventually falling 15-5 as the Buccaneers staged a monster rally in the seventh.

Cedar Key had a nice second inning, as leadoff Ryan Alford got them started with a single and was brought home by Billy O'Dell. O'Dell moved over when Jacob Crosby was hit by the pitch, and both came home off a two-RBI single by Aaron Esposito.

Alford had a huge bat for the Sharks early on, with a single-shot homer in the third inning, and a big RBI single in the fifth to score Evan Lyons, bringing Cedar Key to a 5-3 lead over Branford. However, Lyons was the last to cross the plate for the Sharks as they stalled after the fifth inning.

Lyons started on the mound for the Sharks, striking out four, walking three and allowing three hits in four innings. The heavy rain made the ball slippery, and gave the Branford hitters incentive to take pitches. He was succeeded by Aaron Esposito in the fifth inning. Esposito gave up one hit and two walks, while striking out two in the fifth.

Cedar Key was still ahead after the fifth inning, but Branford was no longer demoralized. Their few runs on the board made them confident of more, and they counted on the rain to help.

O'Dell came to the mound in the middle of the sixth, after the Bucs began to hit Esposito, but his change of pace couldn't stop the Branford bats. They scored five runs in the sixth inning and batted through the order in the seventh for eight more runs.

Head coach Joseph Bishop was unhappy with the outcome, especially after the Sharks' fast start.

"We can do better than this," he said. "We can beat this team."

They'll have one more chance, traveling to Branford on April 4.

Cedar Key baseball's next home game is March 27 at 4:30 vs. First Academy.