tampabay.com

HCA's end result: resilience

By KELLIE DIXON
Published April 26, 2007


BROOKSVILLE - Corey Drummond carried the bat behind home plate and looked at his dad, Hernando Christian athletic director Mike Drummond, who was announcing the district semifinal.

"This is it," he told his dad before taking a few practice swings.

"I know, son," Mike Drummond said, his voice cracking slightly. "Hey, have fun with it. Just relax."

The senior catcher tried. He stepped to the plate, made contact and grounded out. It was the top of the seventh and Hernando Christian couldn't crack Bishop McLaughlin's 9-0 lead.

Two batters later, Hernando Christian's up-and-down season came to a close in the Class A, District 7 semifinals. The Lions finished 12-10 overall.

"It's been a rough road," senior second baseman Noah Lane said after the game. "But we won some, we lost some. It was a fun season."

Another good way to describe the Lions' season is inconsistent. At the start of the season the team introduced six new starters, so finding a rhythm was tough. Then it simply became a situation where one day the Lions' bats were cold; another day fielding miscues were to blame. Junior centerfielder Chip Harrell said there was only one reason Hernando Christian defeated No. 1-seeded Bishop McLaughlin late in the season - and was the only district team to do so. "We had everything together," Harrell said.

That win gave the Lions, led by Drummond .342 batting average, 15 RBIs, two home runs, Lane (.326 batting average, six RBIs) and Thomas Bosworth (.366 batting average, 13 RBIs), some confidence. Bosworth, the team's top pitcher, had a 2.80 ERA entering Tuesday's game.

While emotions ran strong for Drummond and the other seniors, coach Scott Boer noted the school does have a reason to be optimistic. The Lions graduate four seniors, but should return everybody else.

"We'll be better next year," Boer said.

Kellie Dixon can be reached at kdixon@sptimes.com or (352) 544-9480.