By Chuck Ballaro, Sun Correspondent
ENGLEWOOD — Lemon Bay’s softball team wanted to make a statement as it opened its season Monday against Ida Baker at Larry Pope Field.
Logan Johnson certainly did. After a rough preseason, the junior pitched a no-hitter, the Manta Rays delivered in all phases of the game and capitalized on every mistake by the Bulldogs (0-1) as they cruised to a 10-0 victory in a game shortened to five innings for the mercy rule.
Johnson walked three, but her defense backed her up with two double plays. She struck out three and induced eight ground balls.
Not bad for someone who came into the season a little flat.
“I pitched every game last season and that was a lot of pressure. In the preseason I was a little lax. We had another pitcher and maybe I didn’t have to try so hard,” Johnson said. “I realized I had to pull it together for my team.”
Lemon Bay got to work early, scoring five in the first inning, all with two out. With two on, Brooke Kvaternick grounded to shortstop Andrea Pena for what should have been the final out. However, the throw to first was wild, allowing Aimee Holt to score and the avalanche to start.
Francesca Gallucci drove in two with a base hit off Baker’s Delicia Bent, Karlie Sweiderk drove in another with a single and later came in on a wild pitch to make it 5-0.
Bent settled in as she mowed down eight straight Lemon Bay hitters. But Baker’s defense, which committed four errors, betrayed her again in the fourth, again with two out. Lemon Bay scored three, with the catalyst being a bad throw to first that again would’ve ended the inning. Christian Chandler had an RBI double in the rally.
Lemon Bay (1-0) ended it in with two runs in the fifth. Brooke Kvaternick delivered the first with a solo home run before Sweiderk singled and Bailey Grossenbacher blasted her second triple of the game over the center fielder for the clincher.
“We were very pleased with the team effort. From top to bottom everyone was involved in a big play defensively or offensively,” said Lemon Bay coach Kim Pinkham. “Logan relied on her defense to get her out of trouble, and overall it was a good start.”
Aimee Holt, Chandler, Kvaternick and Sweiderk scored twice for Lemon Bay. Chandler, Sweiderk and Grossenbacher had two hits.
LEMON BAY 10, IDA BAKER 0
Ida Baker 000 00 – 0 0 4
Lemon Bay 500 32 – 10 10 0
WP: Logan Johnson (1-0) LP: Delicia Bent. Top hitters: Bailey Grossenbacher 2-2, 2 triples, RBI, Christian Candler 2-3, 2 runs, double, RBI. Rec. LB 1-0, IB 0-1.