HURLEY-- East Central took advantage of eight Vancleave errors to take a 10-4 win on Friday.
The Hornets (9-6, 6-2 Region 8-4A) took control of the game in the third, putting together four hits and a walk with four Vancleave errors to push across six runs, taking an 8-1 lead.
"That's something we didn't do early on the season when we were struggling," said Hornets coach Bo Long."We played with a lot of emotion tonight. We hit the ball well; we hit the ball low and hard."
Vancleave coach Daniel Threadgill felt the game was not indicative of the Bulldogs defense.
"The strength of our team is pitching and defense," Threadgill said. "We did not play well defensively."
Vancleave committed at least one error over each of the last four innings and narrowly escaped the game ending after five innings due to the mercy rule.
A walk to Reis Trager and a three-base error on Will Garriga's fly to center gave the Hornets a 9-1 lead. Garriga scored on Jacob Vick's sacrifice to left to put East Central within a run of ending the game.
Although Logan Walters would reach on an error, Vancleave pitcher Nic Brewer managed to get out of the inning with two pop ups to second.
Vancleave would use the extra life to mount a comeback, scoring three runs in the sixth and loading the bases with one out in the seventh before ending the game on a double play.
"I am proud of my guys for coming back," Threadgill said. "We kept fighting at the end."
East Central starter Colin Danly cruised through the first five innings, giving up two hits, hitting a batter, walking one, and striking out seven before giving way to the bullpen for the final two innings.
"He gave us five really good innings," Long said. "We had a nine-run lead and saw a chance get some young guys in there and save Danly some innings."
The move nearly backfired as Vancleave connected for six hits in the final two innings.
"They're young, they're sophomores," Long said of his pitchers in the sixth and seventh innings. "Some times they pitch like sophomores."
Every starter for East Central but one either scored or recorded a hit or both.
Garriga paced East Central with a pair of singles and a two RBIs. Vick also had two RBIs on a 1-for-3 night. Walters and Louis Morgan each had two hits and a RBI, with Morgan adding a double.
Trevor Davis led the Bulldogs with two hits. Colton Hipp and Evan Keith each doubled for Vancleave.