Bulldogs falter late to Wesley Chapel

Zephyrhills watches seven-run lead disappear

What started as amazingly promising start, turned into an incredible disappointing finish, as the Zephyrhills Bulldogs’ baseball squad squandered a 7-0 lead over Wesley Chapel only to lose 17-9 Tuesday night.

Zephyrhills jumped all over the Wildcats with five runs in the first thanks to hits from Jaxson Rivera, Mykah Berrian, Bryan Santiago, Maddox Rivera, Austin Dobbins and Connor Prickett.

The Bulldogs defense held the Wildcats to just two hits in the first two innings. The hitting continued in the bottom the second for ZHS with Martin Calhoun and Maddox Rivera adding RBI singles to extend the Bulldog lead to 7-0.

In the top of the third, Wesley Chapel added a pair of runs to close the gap at 7-2. In the bottom the third, the Bulldogs got one of those runs back on a RBI double by Mark Santiago scoring Jaxson Rivera. Both teams were scoreless in the fourth before Wesley Chapel opened the offensive flood gate and put up 15 runs over the next three innings.

Zephyrhills head coach Rusty Guynn was pleased in what he saw early in the game, but knew a team with no seniors, a few juniors and loads of young talented freshmen and sophomores could struggle against a team as seasoned as Wesley Chapel.

“That’s a really good team that swings the bat really well,” Guynn said. “They are older and they make the plays on defense. Here we are with a lead and no one could make a routine play. If we make three routine plays, maybe we’re home an hour ago.”

In addition, the Bulldogs canceled its fall season due to COVID-19 and had its 2020 regular season cut short because of the virus.

“Last year really hurt us getting cut short,” Guynn said. “That was the year these young guys take the bumps and go and be ready for this year.

“This group has a chance to very good. There are always going to be day like this, but we’ll be there at the end. We’re always there at the end.”

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