By Chuck Ballaro, Sun Correspondent
NORTH PORT – North Port first baseman Patrick Smith was looking for a breakout night, and he finally had one Thursday.
Smith drove in five runs and Tyler O’Boyle pitched four strong innings as the Bobcats blew out North Fort Myers 10-0 at the Preserve in a non-district matchup that ended in the sixth inning by the mercy rule.
“I wasn’t having a particularly good streak, but with slower pitching I was able to focus on my mechanics and the opposite way,” Smith said. “It was windy, so I wasn’t trying to blast the ball. I got little dinker hits that dropped in and got me some RBI.”
Smith got the Bobcats on the board in the first inning, though he didn’t get an RBI because it came on a bases-loaded double play. He would make up for that next time up.
After Charlie Davidson singled and Dominic LeFever doubled with one out in the third, Smith drove home both on a single off North Fort Myers starter Sergei Archipov to up the lead to 3-0.
North Port blew the game open in the fourth, scoring six, with Smith again driving in a pair with a single. O’Boyle helped his cause with an RBI double that upped the Bobcats lead to 9-0.
“They hit two batters and walked a guy. When you give up free bases, that’s a great thing, especially with the 4-hole coming up with the bases loaded,” Smith said. “No outs, no pressure, just swing the bat like you know you can.”
O’Boyle was sharp, scattering five hits in four innings with four strikeouts and no walks. Jaden Blashinsky pitched two scoreless innings, and drove in the walk-off run with a single in the sixth to finish up.
“I was pleased with our effort. We played well in most facets of the game,” North Port coach Dan Pavlue said. “I would have liked to see cleaner defense, but for the most part we swung the bats and got great pitching.”
Alex Partridge had two hits for North Port, while Davidson and Brandon Corso scored twice.
The Red Knights got two infield hits from Clayton Glover, among the five they had on the night. They saw their two-game winning streak end.
“We had a senior who pitched only one inning. We had to get him out there,” North Fort Myers coach Mark Rose said. “We didn’t play well, but they swung the bats and got their guys in.”
NORTH PORT 10, NORTH FORT MYERS 0
North Fort Myers 000 000 – 0 5 3
North Port 102 601 – 10 10 3
WP: Tyler O’Boyle. LP: Sergei Archipov. Leading hitters: (NP) Patrick Smith 2-3, 4 RBI, R; Alex Partridge 2-3, R. Records: North Port 8-5, North Fort Myers 3-9.