The Hawks committed three crucial errors, had two runners picked off on line drive double plays and couldn't string together enough hits in suffering a 10-5 loss to the Lions at Kelly High School in pool play of the Scott County Invitational.
"We're killing ourselves with the routine plays," Kelly coach Cory Johnson said. "We're not making the easy outs and we've got to realize those are the plays that we've got to have to win ballgames. That's what's beating us right now, walks and routine plays."
On top of Kelly's mistakes, the Lions were more than a handful for the Hawks. Senath-Hornersville (12-5) pounded out 14 hits, played good all-around defense, and kept the Kelly bats quiet for most of the game.
"I thought we came out and played real well for the first five innings of the game," Senath-Hornersville coach Randy Smith said. "Once we got a lead we kind of flattened out a bit. They've got a good bunch. We feel real fortunate to come up here and win. I knew we'd have to play well and I thought we did for the most part."
Senath took the lead in the first inning and never looked back. Jeremy Wilson laced a single into left field to bring in Heath Horvath.
The Lions extended the lead in the second inning with four runs to make it 5-0. Two errors by the Hawks helped keep the inning alive.
"They're aggressive at the plate and they put the ball in play," Johnson said. "They didn't hit the ball extremely hard all day, but they hit it and we didn't make the plays we needed to make. Unearned runs will kill you and that's done us in all year."
In the first and second innings, Kelly had runners doubled off a base on hard line drives to thwart potential scoring chances.
Kelly (4-6) sliced the lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the third inning with a little help from the Lions. Dustin LeGrand's grounder was mishandled by Senath shortstop Dustin Hunter, bringing in Levi Felter. One batter later, Bryce Faulkner hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Dallas Tew.
But that was all the damage the Hawks could do until it was too late.
Senath plated two more runs in the top of the fourth off Skyler Droke's double. The Lions broke the game open with a three-run fifth. A wild pitch scored one.
Tyler Smith had an RBI-single. Hunter had a run-scoring double to extend the lead to 10-2.
Kelly managed to put together one last rally in the bottom of the seventh. The Hawks had five singles in the inning alone to score three runs, but the rally was much too late.
"Our hits were so scattered, but we hit the ball pretty decent," Johnson said. "We hit it hard a few times. We hit into a couple line drive double plays. We weren't mentally into the game with our base running. If that doesn't happen, who knows what the score ends up being. We didn't come out focused."
The Kelly offense was kept in check by Senath freshman hurler Horvath, who threw 4 2/3 innings, allowing two runs off five hits with three strikeouts. He walked five and hit a batter.
"He's done a great job for us all year," Smith said of Horvath. "The thing with him, when he pitches, most of the time I can put my best lineup on the field. He just throws it over the plate and makes you beat him. He usually doesn't beat himself."
Taking the loss for Kelly was sophomore pitcher Ryan Essner, who threw 4 1/3 innings, allowing nine runs (seven earned) off 10 hits. He struck out one and walked five.
"That's the first time he's started a game for us this year," Johnson said of Essner. "He struggled with his control early. Give Senath credit. They're a good ballclub and always have been. They have a traditionally strong baseball program down there. Coach Smith does a great job with them."
Senath pounded out 14 hits in the game. Kelly had 10 hits, five of which came in the seventh inning.
The Lions were led by Droke's 3-4 day at the plate with two RBIs and a run. Smith went 2-5 with an RBI, three runs scored and two stolen bases. Hunter was 2-4 with two RBIs. Wilson went 2-4 with an RBI and a run.
Scott went 2-5 with two runs, two steals and an RBI.
Tew led Kelly, going 3-4 with two runs and a triple. Josh DeBrock went 3-4 with an RBI. Essner was 2-4.
Faulkner went 1-2 with two RBIs and a run. LeGrand was 1-3 with two steals, an RBI and a run.
Action in the Scott County Invitational continued on Saturday. Results from those games will be in Monday's edition.
Senath-Hornersville 10, Kelly 5
WP - Heath Horvath. LP - Ryan Essner. 3B - Kelly: Dallas Tew. 2B - Senath-
Hornersville: Dustin Hunter, Droke. Multiple hitters - Senath-Hornersville: Tony Scott 2-5, Tyler Smith 2-5, Hunter 2-5, Jeremy Wilson 2-4, Droke 3-4. Kelly: Tew 3-4, Josh DeBrock 3-4, Essner 2-4. Records - Senath-Hornersville 12-5. Kelly 4-6.