Cedar Key baseball dropped its last home game 17-8 to Bell, playing six good innings after coming this close to a 10-run meltdown.
"We were down 13-0 when we first came to bat in the first inning," said head coach Joe Bishop.
Bell batted through the order twice in the first inning, with C.J. Harris and Tyler Stofel each hitting home runs, but much of the scoring was due to defensive errors.
"We've been out all week for spring break - yesterday was our first full practice," Bishop noted. Worse for the team was the injury of two starters in last weekend's prom limo accident.
"Ian (McNulty) and Shawna (Fenton) are still pretty stiff," Bishop said.
Whatever the cause, once the awful first inning was over, the Sharks settled down and played good baseball.
Evan Lyons drew a walk from the two-slot in the bottom of the first, and was followed onto the base paths by McNulty, who singled to left. Lyons stole third and came home on a passed ball; McNulty stole second and third and was driven in by David Bishop's sacrifice.
Harris and Stofel scored again for Bell in the top of the second, making the score 15-2 Bulldogs.
The Sharks scored again the bottom of the third, when Jacob Crosby walked, stole around, and came home on a passed ball.
In the fourth inning, Cedar Key exploded at the plate, starting with Billy O'Dell's one-out single. He, Crosby, Aaron Esposito and McNulty all had base hits in the inning, while Fenton and Quentin Peyregne drew walks. All but McNulty scored, adding five runs to the Sharks' tally, and Esposito, McNulty and Lyons (on a sacrifice) drove runners in, making the score 15-8 Bell going into the fifth.
Bell put two more runs on the board for the 17-8 win, but lost the opportunity to go home early when the Sharks got aggressive at the plate and on the bases. Cedar Key defense showed a miraculous improvement after the opener, with solid play in the infield and outfield.
"We still remember how to play baseball," Bishop said. "We just have to put everything together from the beginning of the game to the end."
The district tournament begins Monday at Hernando Christian Academy in Brooksville. Fifth seed (out of seven) Cedar Key plays Seven Rivers Christian School at 10:30 a.m.
Bishop likes the Sharks' chances against the Warriors, saying, "If we come out and play hard from the start, we can beat them."
Hernando Christian Academy is located at 7200 Emerson Road in Brooksville. Call 352-796-0616 for more information or directions.