ATHENS — The Bullard Panthers rallied for a big, three-run second inning to help defeat Athens, 8-4, on Friday night at Hornet Field in District 17-3A baseball action.
Senior Cameron Hallford ended the Panthers’ home run drought with a monster homer to make it a 7-2 Bullard lead in the fifth inning.
The Panthers got cranked up after Haden Bryant’s sacrifice bunt set the stage early on in the second inning for J.P. Hendrix’s two-RBI double to post a 2-0 lead.
Rightfielder Weston Gray singled in Hendrix after stealing third base to make it 3-0 after two at-bats.
Winning pitcher Taft Rose struck out four, walked three, and scattered only five hits in five innings of work, giving way to Taylor McIntyre.
McIntyre gave up one hit and had three strikeouts and two walks in relief.
Hendrix paced the offense with two doubles, driving in two runs and scoring two runs.
Bullard’s Holden Bryant was hit by a pitch and Cameron Hallford hit a sacrifice fly to deep left field to plate Bryant for a 4-0 lead in the third.
A leadoff walk to Athens’ Travis Ticotta resulted in a run after a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to left field from Adam Stallings narrowed the lead to 4-1. A passed ball allowed another Hornets run as Will Kirkland scored and cut the lead to 4-2 after three innings.
Jess Wood came up and singled with runners at second and third, scoring both for a 6-2 advantage in the top of the fourth.
The Hornets (2-3), came back in the bottom of the fifth inning after back-to-back singles left Athens runners at the corners with no outs. A balk called on Rose plated the third Hornets run before Rose settled down and a double-play ended the threat.
Bullard (13-5, 4-2) scored again after Hayden Bryant reached on an error and advanced to second on the bad throw at first. A sacrifice by Hendrix moved up Bryant before a balk plated Haden Bryant for an 8-3 Panthers lead in the sixth.
The Hornets scored a run with a two-out rally in their half of the inning when Ticotta singled to score Derrick Conley for the final 8-4 score.
The Panthers will play a non-district game at Central Heights on Tuesday, then play Brownsboro in league play in Bullard on Thursday. Both games are slated for 6 p.m. first pitches.
Athens will look to get back on the winning track when they play at Brownsboro on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Bullard 8, Athens 4
Bullard 031 211 0 — 8 8 2
Athens 002 011 0 — 4 6 3
Taft Rose, Taylor McIntyre (6) and Trevor Rumbelow; Will Kirkland and Gabe Gross. W – Rose. L – Kirkland. 2B – B: J.P. Hendrix (2), Rumbelow. HR – B: Cameron Hallford (fifth inning, solo). SAC – B: Haden Bryant, Hallford, Hendrix. A: Adam Stallings. SB – B: Hendrix, Holden Bryant, Jess Wood.
RECORDS — Bullard 13-5 (4-2); Athens (2-3).
NEXT UP — Bullard at Central Heights, 6 p.m. Tuesday; Athens at Brownsboro, 7 p.m. Tuesday.