JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Providence knocked off nationally ranked Lynn Haven Mosley without even leaving the ballpark on Thursday morning.
The victory wasn’t surprising. That the Stallions didn’t belt a home run that wound up in the trees, however, was.
The Stallions (10-1), the top team in the News4Jax Super 6 poll, beat Mosley 3-0 in their spring break P-Town Classic tournament. It was the first loss of the season for the Dolphins (8-1), who are ranked No. 23 in the country in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 poll. It was also a welcome change of pace for the Stallions.
Providence, the area’s most lethal team at the plate, entered averaging two home runs a game. Twenty home runs were split between four players — Nathan Hickey (eight), Tyler Callihan (seven), Tucker Talbott (three) and Josh Gray (two).
It ended with the Stallions still stuck on 20 home runs, and an important lesson in the process. Amidst all of the moonshots delivered by Providence batters this season, it’s not always the long ball that wins games, said coach Mac Mackiewitz.
“We remind them that probably isn’t going to happen all the time and to stay sharp and to win a 1-nothing game that we might have to squeeze, or we might have to hit behind a runner,” Mackiewitz said. “That [game] is not always going to be won by a home run ... we can’t get lazy as hitters just because three or four guys are hitting home runs like crazy.”
Mosley and ace lefty Ryan Pettys, a Florida State signee, kept Providence’s bats in check, holding the top three batters in the lineup, Gray, Callihan and Hickey, hitless. But that didn’t apply to Talbott, who doubled twice off of Pettys and knocked in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth.
Sam Gonzalez had a two-RBI double the next batter and that was all the damage the Stallions needed to do.
An excellent outing by starting pitcher Cutter Cannon (5 innings, 7 hits allowed, 9 Ks) got Providence into the sixth and Callihan came on to work the final two innings to earn the win.
While there were no home runs against Mosley, Providence’s power numbers this season are worth taking a look at. According to the Florida Times-Union’s weekly baseball statistics, no area non-Providence player entered this week with more than two home runs.
Where do Hickey and Callihan, on pace for 18 and 16 home runs in the regular season, respectively, rank in Stallions baseball history? Roll the calendar back to 2011, the last high school season of the so-called juiced bat era and the BESR (Ball Exit Speed Ratio) standard.
The Stallions clubbed a staggering 70 home runs that 2011 season, led by Walker Lockett’s 18, one off the state record shared by Tampa Catholic’s Donnie Scott (1978), Florida Bible’s Frankie Figueroa (1996), Merritt Island’s Tommy Parrott (1999) and Westminster Christian’s David Thompson (2010), according to various media outlets.
Ty Kelly hit 11 homers that season for the Stallions, followed by Christian Dicks’ 10 and Jimmy VonThron’s eight.
When the current BBCOR (Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution) standards were introduced in 2012, home run numbers dropped like a sinker across the board.
Alec Sanchez’s 10 home runs in 2018 is a Providence post-BESR record. It’s all but a given that both Callihan and Hickey pass that number by early April.
“The thing this year is Callihan and Hickey got a lot of theirs early,” Mackiewitz said. “Callihan hit three on the first day at LaGrange [where the Stallions played their season-opening tournament].”