Homestead fell two runs behind No. 4 Carroll in the first inning at Parkview Field on Tuesday, but the Spartans erupted for five runs in both the fourth and sixth innings to claim a 12-5 victory over their biggest rivals.
Both of Homestead's big innings featured bases-clearing hits with two outs: Brennen Weigert had runners on the corners when he hit a three-run homer to left field in the fourth to give Homestead a 7-2 advantage, and Jackson Todor hit a triple to center with the bases loaded in the sixth inning to put the Spartans up 12-4.
The first homer to Parkview Field's Home Run Porch in left field, however, was a solo shot hit by Carroll's Conner Barkel, the second batter of the game. His ball reached the final row of the outfield seats, and in the next at-bat Jordan Malott hit a triple that rolled all the way to the outfield wall. Malott made it 2-0 when he scored on a wild pitch.
After the shaky start, Caden Tarango held the Chargers (19-3) scoreless for the next three innings.
“He was still attacking the zone and really competing,” Homestead coach Nick Byall said of his starting pitcher. “That's something we try to preach to our pitchers, we want someone who's going to be competitive. Go out and compete. You're not always going to have your best stuff, sometimes you're going to get hit hard, but just compete and don't give up. Caden did that today.”
Homestead (13-3) got a run back in the bottom of the second when Jake Goode led off with a walk, stole second and third, and scored on Isaac McDonald's sacrifice fly.
The Spartans tied the game with their first two-out RBI in the third: Nicholas Hockemeyer tripled to center and scored on a single by Braydon Quintana that sailed just over the leaping second baseman.
Carroll starter William Worrel left the game after giving up a single to Bryce Yoder and walking Carter Dixon to start the fourth, but the situation didn't get any better for the Chargers as Thomas Tratnyek took the mound. McDonald picked up his second RBI with a line drive to right that scored Yoder, and then Homestead's Carson Nutter hit into a fielder's choice that failed to result in an out as Aiden Harris, serving as the courtesy runner, avoided the tag at home plate. Hockemeyer struck out for the second out, and Weigert followed with a home run that bounced off the top of the awning that shades the Home Run Porch seats in left field.
Weigert, the Homestead second baseman, showed his defensive prowess in the next half inning, grabbing a line drive by Malott for the second out of the inning and then firing to shortstop Yoder at second base to pick off Barkel, who had just hit a two-run double to make the score 7-4.
“Weigert is one of those guys who comes out and impacts the game. He's a hard-nosed kid, a smart baseball player, and he comes up with an intent to do damage at the plate a lot. There are a lot of at-bats where you're happy he's on your team,” Byall said.
Goode, who relieved Tarango in the fifth after Barkel's two-run double, gave up one run over the final 21/3innings. He struck out three batters after Tarango whiffed eight.
The Spartans and Chargers are scheduled to play again today at Carroll and Thursday at Homestead.