Bigger Than Baseball: Buchholz and Gainesville Honor Rex and Brody Foundation

On Thursday night, Buchholz and Gainesville met for the first of their two-game series, and the Bobcats come away with a 6-1 win. However, this game was a special one as the Bobcats and the Hurricanes came together to pay homage to the Rex and Brody Foundation.

The Rex and Brody Foundation honors the lives of Rex (14) and Brody (11). The brothers were the victims of a tragic murder-suicide by their father in May 2021.

Play like Brody, Pitch like Rex

At the entrance to the field, bracelets reading #playlikebrody #pitchlikerex were being handed out.

Prior to the start of the game, the Bobcats and Hurricanes gathered around the mound as Rex and Brody’s mother, Minde Prince Reinhart, threw the first pitch.

On the other end of the ball was Buchholz freshman No. 12 Wyatt Clarke. Clarke was a best friend of the boys and served as the catcher for the ceremonial start. Clarke used Rex’s glove.

Additionally, the Gatorball Baseball Academy was invited to the game.

Pictured: Noah Hayse, Austin Cardozo, and Anthony Wilkie stand next to Gatorball players for the national anthem at the start of Thursday night’s game. Photo by Ellie Shreve.

The young baseball players took the field with the Bobcats at the start of the game.

Furthermore, both teams were suited in custom jerseys. The jerseys were specially made for Thursday night’s game to honor the boys and their foundation.

The teams wear special jerseys to support the Rex and Brody Foundation. Photos by Ellie Shreve.

The Rex and Brody Foundation

The memory of Rex and Brody lives on through their Foundation and the hearts of friends, family and the Gainesville community. The Rex and Brody Foundation promotes a cause most dear to the boys by raising funds and support for young baseball players.

The Foundation has already been able to provide support to over ten local high school baseball teams, and sponsor a local team to play in Rex and Brody’s honor in Cooperstown, New York, at a national tournament.

Additionally, the Foundation is organizing a baseball tournament with a national youth baseball organization that will allow over 200 baseball teams to come to the area in a few weeks time.

Furthermore, the Rex & Brody Foundation has begun to improve the facilities at the Jonesville Sports Complex with a covered batting cage and bullpen area. In addition, there are future plans for more athletic facility improvements at local schools and scholarship opportunities for young athletes.

The Rex and Brody Foundation will have their kickoff event on May 5 from 6-10 p.m. The event will take place at the Touchdown Terrace at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Game Recap

Buchholz freshman Austin Cardozo, took the mound as the starting pitcher for the Bobcats. Cardozo surrendered zero runs on two hits over five innings, striking out five. The ace led the Bobcats to victory on a special night.

Buchholz junior Scott Jones pitched the final two innings in relief from the bullpen, closing out the game for the Bobcats.

Gainesville junior Nate Kemph took the mound for the Hurricanes, surrendering three runs on two hits through three innings, while striking out four. Andrew Pickles came in relief pitching for the Hurricanes in three innings.

The ‘Cats showed consistency as Buchholz did not make a single error throughout the night. The Bobcats’ offense was led by Noah Hayse, Cooper Collins, and J.J. Gardner who each recorded a hit for the Bobcats.

Cats Claw First

In the bottom of the third, Collins singled on a bunt. On an intentional walk for Hayse, Collins advanced to second. Ryan McCracken grounded out, allowing Collins to advance to third and Hayse’s courtesy runner, Nick Taylor, to reach second. Then, Collins scored on a passed ball. On the same pitch, Taylor advanced to third while McCracken advanced to second.

Following, J.J. Gardner singled to left field and reached second on an error while Taylor and McCracken scored on the same error. The Bobcats took the lead 3-0 after capitalizing on Gainesville’s errors and putting up a strong performance in the bottom of the third.

In the bottom of the fifth, Anthony Wilkie reached first on a walk. With a double to center field by Hayse, Wilkie advanced to third.

McCracken had an RBI groundout to first, bringing Wilkie home from third. Taylor also scored on Gainesville’s error. The Bobcats now lead the Hurricanes 5-0.

In the top of the sixth, the Hurricanes made their only score of the game. Josh Morison singled and courtesy runner Will Wittstruck was able to advance to third after two wild pitches. Jesus Canizalez singled to center field and Wittstruck scored to get Gainesville on the board.

In the bottom of the sixth, Taylor hit a hard ground ball and advanced on an error. Donny Heibert walked and Taylor was able to reach second. Another groundout by Collins allowed Taylor to score for the Bobcats, gaining their last score of the night.

Buchholz defeated city rival Gainesville High School in the first of their two-game series with a final score of 6-1. The Bobcats improve to 12-5 on the season, while the Hurricanes fall to 6-10. The rival teams will face each other again on Friday night as the Hurricanes host with the first pitch slated for 7 p.m.

About Ellie Shreve

Ellie is a second-year sports and media journalism major at the University of Florida.

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