By Bruce Robins, Sun Correspondent
ENGLEWOOD — A seven-run deficit proved to be too much to overcome Thursday night as Lemon Bay fell to Mariner, 8-6, in a non-district game.
The Manta Rays trailed 7-0 before rallying for five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. They had the go-ahead run at the plate in the bottom of the seventh before Tritons reliever Jimmy Meredith struck out Brandon Gielow for the final out.
“I’m upset that we lost, but I’m not upset at the way we’re playing baseball,” said Lemon Bay coach Casey Hanrahan, whose team dropped to 0-2. “That’s the way the game is. The ball bounces one way you win, the ball bounces the other way you lose. There’s little intricacies to the game that change the outcome.”
The Mantas had a chance to score in the bottom of the first as the first two batters, Warnner Rincones and Jacob Treece, reached on errors, putting runners at the corners. But Rincones was thrown out at the plate on an attempted double steal, and Lemon Bay failed to score.
Mariner got three runs in the top of the third on an RBI single by Alex Freeland and a two-run triple by Andrew Arsenault, then added two more on a two-run single by Louis Alberro in the top of the fifth, chasing hard-luck starter Treece. All five runs Treece allowed were unearned.
“You’ve got to give Treece some credit,” Hanrahan said. “The kid works harder than most people out here. He did a good job tonight.”
The Tritons got two more runs in the top of the sixth before the Mantas began their rally in the bottom of the inning.
Rincones led off with a single and Flynn Stewart walked. Both runners advanced on a ground out by Trey Fields before Matt Molinari singled home Rincones.
Tyler Kreisler reached on an error by first baseman Justin Weibel to score another run. After Molinari scored on a wild pitch, Josh Gossett delivered a two-run single to make it 7-5.
Mariner added a run in the top of the seventh, before Treece singled and Fields was hit by a pitch with one out in the bottom of the inning. Kreissler’s base hit scored Treece and sent Fields to third before Gielow struck out the end the game.
“I have all the confidence in the world in this team,” Hanrahan said. “We didn’t expect to start out 0-2, but we’re hitting the ball and playing good defensively. It’s a long season and we’ll catch our stride.”
MARINER 8, LEMON BAY 6
Mariner 003 022 1 — 8 8 3
Lemon Bay 000 005 1 — 6 8 3
WP: Andrew Arsenault. LP: Jacob Treece. Leading hitters: (M) Alex Freeland 2-3, 2R, 2 RBI; (LB) Warnner Rincones 2-4, 2B, R; Matt Molinari 2-4, R, RBI. Records: (M) 1-1; LB 0-2.