By Chuck Ballaro, Sun Correspondent
ARCADIA — Once the Port Charlotte High School softball team got those opening-game jitters out of the way, things went a little easier.
Unfortunately, the Pirates couldn’t get their bats going, unable to get a hit until the fifth inning en route to a 6-1 setback at the hands of Sebring at the preseason classic at Desoto High School on Tuesday.
For a team in which more than half were playing their first varsity game, it wasn’t a bad effort. Still, from now until the games begin to count, batting will likely be a main component of coach Ryann Baker’s practices.
“There were pregame jitters we’re trying to work out. We don’t have our positions set yet and we were down a shortstop,” Baker said. “We have a lot to work on, but they’re coachable kids, so I don’t think it’s going to be a problem come the season.”
Those jitters were evident as starting pitcher Seaaira Yiengst and freshman catcher Aly Eugenius couldn’t seem to get on the same page, and it cost them a run in the second on a muffed third strike and ensuing error that would have ended the inning.
Yiengst had another wild pitch in next inning that gave the Blue Streaks a 2-0 lead. Marisol Carrillo added an RBI single later in the inning.
Jade Sinness, who had three hits and two runs scored, put the game out of reach in the fifth with a two-run home run into left center field.
Meanwhile, Kristen Schwartz completely handcuffed the Pirates, striking out eight in four innings. Kaylie Leonardo finished up, allowing a Eugenius RBI single in the fifth that cut the lead to 5-1 and getting out of a jam in the sixth that could have put the Pirates back into it.
Eugenius finished up for Port Charlotte, allowing one run on four hits, and getting a double play to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth.
Carrillo drove in her second run in the seventh on an RBI single to end the scoring for the Blue Streaks.
Baker said she was impressed by Eugenius, adding that having a second pitcher to come in should prove to be a plus.
“Being able to throw her in there when we needed to and throw them off base helped, so we’re going to build on having two pitchers,” Baker said. “Aly’s composure is very similar to Seaaira’s, she doesn’t get too worked up and she makes adjustments on her own.”
SEBRING 6, PORT CHARLOTTE 1
Sebring 012 020 1 – 6 12 3
Port Charlotte 000 010 0 – 1 2 1
WP: Schwartz, LP: Yiengst. Leading hitters: Jade Sinness (S) 3-4, HR, 2 runs, 2 RBI, Schwartz (S) 1-2, 2 runs, triple.