Prep Baseball Report

No. 14 Bolles Blasts Past Providence 11-7

Phil Kerber
PBR Florida/JUCO Wire

The highly anticipated matchup between two of the top programs in Florida, Bolles and Providence, did not disappoint. The game featured multiple division one talents, and two of the most sought after high school prospects in the 2019 MLB Draft, Bolles’ LHP Hunter Barco (No. 29 on PBR Draft Board) and Providence’s SS/C Tyler Callihan (No. 30 on PBR Draft Board).Providence kept the game close for three and a half frames before a seven run bottom of the fourth catapulted Bolles to a commanding lead. The Bulldogs would hang on for the 11-7 victory over the Stallions of Providence.

The game began with exactly what the crowd wanted, Hunter Barco (Florida recruit) on the mound and Tyler Callihan (South Carolina recruit) at the plate. The left-on-left matchup would seemingly favor Barco as he came out of the gate firing 92-94 mph with his fastball. However, the advanced hit/power tool of Callihan was on full display this afternoon. Callihan was able to take round one against Barco, muscling an inside fastball into shallow left field for a single.

Barco was then faced with the dangerous power hitter, C Nathan Hickey (Florida recruit). Another left-on-left matchup, Hickey wasted no time letting Barco get comfortable. The powerful left-handed hitter turned on a 92 mph fastball low and inside, ripping a double down the right field line.

Not out of the woods yet, Providence’s CF Tucker Talbott (Florida recruit) stepped to the plate, ready for the challenge. Talbott did not shy away after seeing his two teammates success. He was able to get around an away off-speed pitch, pulling it through the gap between short and third and scoring Callihan.

Barco was able to hunker down the rest of the inning as he regained focus. The big southpaw worked mostly 92-94, touching 95 mph with armside run. It was his offspeed that eventually got him out of the first inning. Equipped with a late sinking splitter and a sweeping slider, Barco was able to strikeout three of the next four batters, issuing a walk to the other, and limit the Stallions to just one run in the first inning.

The second inning was a little less of an adventure. Barco made quick work of the bottom of the Providence lineup, earning back-to-back strikeouts on his fastball before the lineup turned over to Callihan once again. Barco got to a one ball, two strike advantage on Callihan, challenging him with everything to the glove-side. Callihan would not give though, the savvy hitter worked the count to full before ultimately drawing a walk. A similar fate awaited hickey. Barco was able to work back from a three ball, one strike count, before missing with a fastball outside. Providence would be unable to capitalize as Barco exacted some revenge on Talbott, for his first inning RBI, with a strikeout looking on a fastball.

The game really began to open up in the bottom of the second inning when the bottom half of the Bolles lineup got their chance at Providence starting pitcher Cutter Cannon. Cannon started the inning strong with a strikeout but followed that up by walking the next batter. CF Bryson Kirksey made him pay for his mistake. Kirksey turned on a pitch and sent it flying over the left field fence, good for a two run home run and a 2-1 lead. Cannon was unable to regroup after that, walking the next batter to set up the nine hitter 2B Jack Brady (Florida football recruit). Brady, taking notes on how Kirksey did it, turned on one of his own and blasted it over the left field fence for the second two run home run of the inning for Bolles. When the dust had settled, the Bulldogs led Providence 4-1 heading into the third inning.

In the third inning, Barco began to lose some command of his fastball, missing outside and up with the pitch. This resulted in back-to-back one out walks. Providence DH Sam Gonzalez made sure the Stallions capitalized on these mistakes. The sophomore right-handed hitter saw a split-finger and connect, driving the ball into the gap for a two run double, cutting the lead to 4-3.

Providence were able to gain another run in the fourth inning when Barco and Callihan met for the third and final time on the day. Barco got Callihan to chase the first pitch in the dirt, putting himself in the driver’s seat. He could not get Callihan to chase again and the count evened at one-one. A moment many scouts and fans of the game had been waiting to see occurred. Barco left the third pitch of the at-bat up in the zone and Callihan did to it what he has been doing all year, depositing it over the left field fence for a solo home run, tying the game at 4-4.

The deadlock would be short lived. Once more, nine hole hitter Jack Brady turned on one and put it over the left field fence for his second home run of the day, returning the lead to Bolles. The runs did not stop there though. Back-to-back walks and an infield single loaded the bases with still no men out. C Cal Henrichsen delivered the big hit of the inning with a no out bases loaded two run single, giving Bolles an 8-4 lead. The inning would not end there, Bolles tacked on an additional three more runs to take a commanding 11-4 lead.

Barco would exit the game following the fourth inning, giving way to relief pitcher Bryson Kirksey. Barco finished with a final line of: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 9 K, 5 BB, 1 HBP.  Kirksey was able to work through the fifth inning with little trouble, but he had the top of the Providence ready and waiting in the sixth. Callihan started things off with his third hit of the game, a single through the right side. Hickey followed by drawing his second walk of the game. Once more it was Tucker Talbott who rose to the occasion. Talbott blasted one into the right center gap for a two run double. 1B Josh Gray (Tallahassee) matched Talbott with his own double down the left field line.

The lead down to 11-7 with still no outs, Providence had the momentum. That is when Kirksey took things into his own hands. The right-hander executed a perfect pick-off play to get Gray at second and then he rattled off consecutive strikeouts to end the threat. The seventh inning came and went with little drama. Kirksey collected another strikeout before getting two groundouts to preserve the 11-7 victory.

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