BASEBALL: North Port can’t overcome early deficit

By Bruce Robins, Sun Correspondent
NORTH PORT — Sarasota came out swinging in the top of the first inning Wednesday night and went on to defeat North Port, 5-1, in a non-district baseball game, dealing the Bobcats their first loss of the season.The Sailors got two quick runs off starter Charlie Davidson, as leadoff batter Nick Winkelmeyer reached on an error and the next four batters singled. But the Bobcats got a force at the plate and Davidson settled down to strike out the next two batters to get out of the inning without any more damage.

“They came out swinging,” North Port coach Dan Pavlue said. “We made a good adjustment in the middle innings there to keep them off balance, but credit to them. They came ready to swing. They hit the ball hard.

“We kept them in check for the most part after that, which is good, but we’ve got to approach it a little differently next time.”

The Bobcats (3-1) got their lone run in the bottom of the third inning when Davidson led off with a double into the right field corner and came home on Brandon Corso’s single to right. Brooks Larson relieved starter Phil Shore at that point and retired the next three North Port batters.

The Sailors (1-3) managed only two more hits after the first inning, but shoddy fielding led to three more runs in the top of the fourth.
Daniel Marin led off with a walk and Joey Arnold laid down a bunt in front of the plate.  Both runners were safe when Bobcats catcher Nathan Vetter’s throw to second base was high.  Another error on a bunt by Larson left the bases loaded with none out, and Winklemeyer drove in two runs with a single to right. Alex Arauz delivered the final run with a sacrifice fly.

North Port had a chance to close the gap in the bottom of the fifth when reliever Steven Colon walked Davidson and Corso to start the inning. But Colon struck out the next three batters and the Bobcats managed just one base runner after that, a Corso single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.

“It’s all about the process. You take it one day at a time and you learn from it,” Pavlue said. “Today was a good reality check for us that we’re not invincible.

“We need to go back to the drawing board. We always have things to work on and get a little bit better every day. Hopefully, we’ll show up and play a little bit better next time.”

The Bobcats will host Riverview tonight in their final tuneup before beginning district play next week.

Sarasota 200 300 0 — 5 6 1
North Port 001 000 0 — 1 5 4
WP: Brooks Larson; LP: Charlie Davidson. Leading hitters: (NP) Brandon Corso 2-3, RBI; Kody Brittain 2-3; (S) Alex Arauz 2-3, run, RBI; Nick Winkelmeyer 1-4, run, 2 RBI. Records:  North Port 3-1, Sarasota 1-3.

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