By Jordan Kroeger, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — Two games. Two shutouts.
In five innings apiece no less.
Lemon Bay High School rolled to another easy victory Wednesday night, defeating Port Charlotte 10-0 on the road in a game called after five innings due to the mercy rule. The victory came just two nights after the Manta Rays also shut out Ida Baker by the same score.
“We’ve had some key, big hits,” Lemon bay coach Kim Pinkham said. “The nice thing is, it’s been different players in the lineup. We had a couple struggle tonight but the others picked them up, so from top to bottom they’re playing well as a team. They’re playing different positions, they’re backing each other up so overall we’re happy with the start.”
Six different Manta Rays recorded hits. Aimee Holt went 3-for-3 with a triple while Logan Johnson finished 2-for-2 at the plate. Johnson drove in three of Lemon Bay’s 10 runs and also picked up the win on the mound, surrendering only one hit.
Johnson, who threw a five-inning no-hitter against Ida Baker, went the first three and two-thirds innings Wednesday night without giving up a hit before Jaiden Dabney singled for Port Charlotte. That was the only hit Johnson would give up, pitching four strong innings with only one strikeout before being replaced by Bailey Grossenbacher for the final frame.
“She did a good job. That’s eight and two-thirds innings she went without giving up a hit so I can’t complain with that,” Pinkham said. “If she struggles and gets behind a batter, she’s digging right back in and getting something good for her defense to play or coming back and striking them out.”
While Lemon Bay has won its first two games by 10 runs, Port Charlotte has dropped its first two by the same margin. The Pirates continue to sift through lineups as they deal with a variety of injuries.
One of those injured players is starting pitcher Seaaira Yiengst, who left with elbow soreness after four innings. Yiengst gave up seven runs on eight hits with four strikeouts, three walks and a hit batter before being replaced by Alexis Carpenter.
“We have injuries so we’re moving people around,” Port Charlotte coach Ryann Baker said. “This is the first night Alyssa (Allred) has caught in a varsity game. We’re down Ali (Eugenius). She’s probably not going to be back until late next week. This was also the first night Carpenter has had to pitch in two years because Seaaira’s elbow is hurt. She’s got some kind of tendinitis deal going on. We just have injuries. We’re trying to figure it out before district start.”
Lemon Bay scored a run in every inning, with the first two coming in the opening frame via an RBI double by Kasi Shaffer, who went 2-for-4 with two doubles, and a sacrifice fly from Brooke Kvaternick. The Manta Rays struck for three more runs in the second thanks to an RBI single by Christian Chandler and a 2-RBI double by Johnson.
“We have stronger hitters than last year,” Pinkham said. “We’ve played four times now with the preseason and we’ve had four totally different lineups, so we don’t know where they fit. They don’t know exactly what role they’re going to play or where they’re supposed to be in the lineup, but some of those good at-bats make it hard to make a lineup when they’re all hitting the ball.”
Allred allowed another run to cross in the third when she dropped the third strike of Rayne Wells’ at-bat, forcing her to throw down to first base. Francesca Gallucci promptly took off from third for home plate to extend Lemon Bay’s lead to 6-0.
Johnson’s sacrifice fly brought Grossenbacher home in the fourth inning to make it 7-0. Destiny Ashcraft had a pinch-hit RBI single in the fifth before Carpenter walked two runs in to allow the Manta Rays to reach the magic number of 10.
LEMON BAY 10, PORT CHARLOTTE 0
Lemon Bay 231 13x x — 10 10 2
Port Charlotte 000 00x x — 0 1 0
WP: Logan Johnson. LP: Seaira Yiengst. Leading hitters: Logan Johnson (LB) 2-2, 1 R, 2B, BB, HB, 3 RBI; Aimee Holt (LB) 3-3, 2 R; Jaiden Dabney (PC) 1-2. Records: Lemon Bay 2-0, Port Charlotte 0-2.