BASEBALL: Lemon Bay, Port Charlotte both win; Charlotte tops North Port

By Bruce Robins, Sun Correspondent

Charlotte’s first baseman, Robert Oettinger waits for the ball as North Port’s Brandon Corso beats a pickoff attempt (Sun Photo by Michele Haskell).

ENGLEWOOD — Trey Fields and Jacob Treece combined on a three-hitter Friday night as Lemon Bay opened its District 5A-11 season with a 3-1 victory over Lake Placid.

Fields pitched the first five innings for the Manta Rays, giving up two hits and striking out 10 Green Dragons. He also stroked an inside-the-park home run in the top of the fifth to give Lemon Bay a 3-0 lead.

“Trey came out and he had his stuff tonight,” Manta Rays coach Casey Hanrahan said. “He was throwing strikes and he was effective with all three pitches. That’s what we know he can do.”

After two scoreless innings, Lemon Bay broke through in the bottom of the third. Cole Dukes reached on an error by third baseman Cody Jolley and Treece singled one out later. The runners moved up to second and third on a wild pitch, and Warnner Rincones brought them home with a single down the right field line.

Fields made it 3-0 with his blast over center fielder Tay Williams head that rolled all the way to the wall while he circled the bases.

Treece replaced Fields on the mound in the top of the sixth and immediately ran into trouble thanks to some shaky defense. Buddy Jolley led off by reaching second on a throwing error, and came home on another throwing error on a bunt down the first base line by Cody Jolley.

Jason Andrews then beat out another bunt down the first base line to put runners on first and second, and both advanced a base when Greece was called for a balk. But the left-hander struck out the next two batters and got Wes Clark to ground out to first to end the threat.

“Our hearts were pounding for a little bit,” Hanrahan said. “It was a little uncomfortable situation, but we got through it, and you have to get through those situations throughout the course of the season. I like the way we handled it.”

Treece retired the Dragons in order in the top of the seventh, adding four strikeouts in his two innings of work to the 10 racked up by Fields.

“We probably could’ve left Fields in there a little bit longer, but it’s early in the season,” Hanrahan said. “We need him the whole season, not just tonight. So I think it was a smart decision to take him out when we did.

“It’s a team sport, it’s not a one-man show. We’ve got to have other guys who can come in and throw strikes and get the job done.”
Lemon Bay improved to 3-5 overall and 1-0 in the District.

“There’s no better way to kick off spring break than with a district ‘W’,” Hanrahan said. “We’re going into the break with a smile on our faces.”

LEMON BAY 3, LAKE PLACID 1
Lake Placid 000 001 0 — 1 3 3
Lemon Bay 002 010 x — 3 5 3
WP: Trey Fields; LP: Sam Callahan. Leading hitters: (LB) Trey Fields 2-3, HR, run, RBI;  Warnner Rincones 1-3, 2 RBI; Jacob Treece  1-2, run. Records: Lemon Bay 3-5, 1-0

By Steve Knapp, Sun Correspondent

CHARLOTTE 6, NORTH PORT 3

PUNTA GORDA — Charlotte erupted for five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning Friday night to pull out a 6-3 victory in against North Port.

The win kept the Tarpons perfect at 7-0 while the Bobcats fell to 4-3.

North Port scored twice in the first on a pair of walks and singles by Dominic LeFever and Kody Brittain. Charlotte cut that lead in half in the fourth with Kyle Machado scoring from third on an error on a pickoff attempt at first base. The Bobcats got that run back in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Brittain for a 3-1 lead.

Charlotte used five hits, a walk and hit batter in the decisive sixth. Jake Eastman hurled the final two innings, striking out four, to get the win for Charlotte while Charlie Topp suffered the loss for North Port.

CHARLOTTE 6, NORTH PORT 3
North Port 200 010 0 — 3 4 1
Charlotte 000 105 x — 6 9 1

WP: Eastman; LP: Topp. Leading hitters: (NP) Dominic LeFever 3-3, 2 runs, RBI; (C)  Lavell Cudjo 3-3; Chris Naskale 2-3. Records: Charlotte 7-0, North Port 4-3.

By Pete Sisk, Sun Correspondent

PORT CHARLOTTE 3, IS. COAST 2

PORT CHARLOTTE — Small ball came up big Friday night for Port Charlotte.

The only ball that got out of the infield in the bottom of the seventh was Jordan Delcolle’s game-winning single down the right-field line. That brought home Spencer Burkhart from third base for a 3-2 Pirates win against Island Coast in a District 6A-11 game at the Pirates’ Cove.

“It was fun. It was a lot of fun,” Pirates coach Rod Taylor said. “That’s our goal this year is that the kids come out and they learn a little bit on the way, and have a lot of fun. Teenagers need to have fun playing this great game of baseball.”

Matt LePoint took a no-hitter into the seventh for Port Charlotte, winding up with a one-hitter and eight strikeouts.

Forrest Theune got that only hit for Island Coast, and was on third base with one out. With his team 0-7, Gators coach Clint Montgomery took a chance and called for the suicide squeeze. However, Mason Schweizer couldn’t make contact and Theune was out at the plate.

“That was a big call,” Taylor said. “If that had worked for them, for Clint that would’ve been a great call. We had our infield in, but I think that if he’d gotten that squeeze down it would’ve been different.”

In the bottom of the inning, Burkhart blooped a seeing-eye ball that found an opening between three Island Coast fielders. Trevor Bloom’s bunt put runners on the corners when the Gators first baseman hesitated. One out later, Delcolle’s hit ended it all.

“We get the first guy up, basically we’re talking small ball,” Taylor said. “A swinging bunt that landed in a great spot. Then we get a passed ball, so the guy’s moved to second. Then we get a bunt down to move him, and we get a hit when we needed it.”

Port Charlotte, which swept a home-and-home with Island Coast this week, took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Bloom doubled and came around to score the first Pirates run.

Island Coast came right back, scoring twice without a hit in the top of the fourth.

PORT CHARLOTTE 3, IS. COAST 2
Island Coast 000 200 — 2 1 1
Port Charlotte 002 000 — 3 8 2
WP: Matt LePoint. LP: Miguel Castro. Leading hitters: (PC) Jordan Delcolle 1-2, HBP, GW RBI. Records: Island Coast 0-7, 0-4; Port Charlotte 4-3, 2-2.

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