SEBRING — It took a while, but the Elite Plumbing bats came alive in a 14-5 win over Hornick Homes in Dixie Ozone action on Tuesday night at Max Long Complex.
Elite Plumbing, which improved to 1-3 on the season, pounded out 10 hits and was paced by L.J Dosil who blasted a grand slam and had a team-high five RBIs.
“We settled in, jumped on the strikes and swung the bats,” said Elite Plumbing coach Kirby Whitehouse. “We had some kids that have been struggling that showed up tonight at the plate and on defense.”
Hornick Homes had an early lead, but struggled through a couple of bad innings to drop to 0-3.
“We have a real young team,” said Hornick Homes coach Johnny Evans. “We start off winning but in the second or third inning the wheels fall off. “The kids are working hard and still learning the game.”
Elite Plumbing struck first in the top of the second inning when Cash Waldron walked, stole second base and scored when the catcher uncorked a throw down the left-field line on an attempted steal of third base for a 1-0 lead.
Hornick Homes answered in the bottom of the frame as J.J. Evans walked, stole second base, advanced to third base on a ground out to second base by Paul Gallagher and raced home on a wild pitch by Elite Plumbing left-hander R.J. Hykes.
Cody Smith walked, Connor Stevens had an infield single and Jayden Lee plated both runners when his ground ball to third base was thrown wildly to make it 3-1.
Elite Plumbing went back to work in the top of the third inning as Caleb Lindsey worked a leadoff walk off Hornick Homes right-hander Xavier Holdman. Kyle Mercer and Sam Lieske walked to load the bases.
A trio of wild pitches plated three runs and Cody Smith came on in relief. Waldron worked a walk, Hykes singled to left field and Dosil capped the inning with a towering three-run home over the left-field fence for a commanding 7-3 lead.
“We’re starting to figure it out,” said Whitehouse. “L.J. is not going to get cheated at the plate and I told him good things are going to happen when you swing the bat.”
Elite Plumbing brought in Mercer to pitch and the hard-throwing hurler blanked Hornick Homes for the next two innings.
The offense went back to work in the top of the fourth as Mercer led off with a single, back-to-back hit batters loaded the bases and a wild pitch plated a run.
Waldron singled in a run, Hykes walked, Dosil ripped an RBI single before a balk scored the final run of the inning to give Elite Plumbing an 11-3 lead.
A three-run fifth extended the Elite Plumbing lead to 14-3 before Hornick Homes was able to rally for two runs in the bottom of the frame.
Waldron bore down to retire the last batter to seal the win for Elite Plumbing.
“All of our pitchers were solid and that’s the first time Cash has pitched this season and he did a good job,” said Whitehouse.
Both teams are back in action on the diamond as Elite Plumbing takes on Elks tonight and Hornick Homes plays the Firemen on Friday night.
The Dixie Ozone is for ages 10-12 and the season runs through the June 2. The Ozone City tournament is set for June 3-7 at Max Long complex.