By Jordan Kroeger, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — Friday night was a night that Port Charlotte’s baseball team would like to forget.
The Pirates committed seven errors, surrendered six unearned runs and were run-ruled by Cypress Lake 15-3 in five innings in a District 6A-11 contest at home.
The Panthers scored five runs in the first, three in the second and five more in the third to run away with the game early. It was the second time this week Cypress Lake handed a loss to Port Charlotte, which has dropped three straight after starting the season with two wins.
In those three losses, errors have been the ultimate killer.
“In the first two games we committed one error in two games,” Port Charlotte coach Rodney Taylor said. “We played clean pretty much behind our pitching the first two games against two good ballclubs in Cardinal Mooney and Manatee. We know we’ve got to keep it tight. We can’t give a team that big inning and we know. We’re learning. It’s growing pains.”
Port Charlotte starting pitcher Jason James only lasted 2.1 innings, surrendering 10 runs — seven earned — on five hits with four strikeouts. In the first, James faced the entire Cypress Lake lineup, which scored runs on an RBI single by Noah Rivera, an RBI triple by Preston Moore, an RBI groundout by Janmikell Bastardo and two more on throwing errors.
The senior pitcher faced six more batters in the second, surrendering an RBI double to Robert Wigielnik while his catcher allowed two more runs to score on passed balls to put the Pirates in an 8-0 hole. James faced three more batters in the third, putting two more runners on that eventually scored, before leaving.
“After a loss like that we took every little positive that we could find and praised on it,” Taylor said. “We praised Jason James, coming out he started out a little shaky but he settled down, started throwing strikes and then once he started throwing strikes we were booting it behind him.”
Trevor Bloom came on in relief and finished the game, immediately walking a batter and hitting another with the bases loaded before surrendering a bases-clearing double to Rivera, who finished 2-for-3 with a walk. Bloom didn’t fare much better, giving up five runs — two earned — on four hits with two walks, a hit batter and strikeout.
The Pirates finally got on the board in the bottom of the third trailing 13-0. Hunter Wilder reached on an error and scored when Matt LePoint also reached on a Cypress Lake miscue.
Matt Intihar then delivered the first of his two triples to bring LePoint in for another run. After Cypress Lake pushed its lead to 15-2 with two more runs on a throwing error in the fourth, Inithar had another RBI triple in the fifth and he finished the night 3-for-3.
Cypress Lake pitcher Michael Junkin threw a complete game, giving up just one earned run on six hits with seven strikeouts.
“We started hitting the ball later in the game. Matt Intihar had two triples tonight. We were making good contact, we just didn’t make it early,” Taylor said. “Our M.O. this year so far has been we’re getting runners on but we’re not getting that timely hit. We just took whatever positive we could find (after the game) and praised them on it and knowing that we’re going to keep getting better.”
CYPRESS LAKE 15, PORT CHARLOTTE 3
Cypress Lake 535 20 — 15 9 3
Port Charlotte 002 01 — 3 6 7
WP: Michael Junkin. LP: Jason James. Top hitters: (CL) Noah Rivera 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R; Darren Tobias 2-4, 2 R; Austin Davis 2-2, 2B, 2 R; Preston Moore 1-4, 3B, RBI, R; (PC) Matt Intihar 3-3 2 3B, 2 RBI. Records: Cypress Lake (7-1, 2-0), Port Charlotte (2-3, 0-2).