By Chuck Ballaro, Sun Correspondent
NORTH PORT – On a night where North Port committed four errors, hit four batters and stranded the bases loaded twice, it was a classic base running sin that cost the Bobcats perhaps their greatest comeback in school history against a team from Ohio playing its season opener.
Dublin Coffman jumped out to a 7-0 lead and was able to hold off a late North Port rally for a 7-6 victory Monday at the Preserve.
Logan Polston’s base-clearing double with two outs in the seventh cut the Shamrocks lead to 7-6 after Tyler O’Boyle beat the throw home.
Polston made a dash to third and was cut down by a perfect throw to end the game, thus committing the cardinal sin of not committing the third out on third base.
“Logan was trying to make an aggressive play. He’s a young player and it’s a good learning experience,” North Port coach Dan Pavlue said. “I’m sure he won’t make the same mistake again.”
The Shamrocks, playing their season opener, jumped out to a quick start, scoring three runs and knocking North Port starter Dillon Garrett off the hill. After Cal Haefke drove in a run with a single, Andrew Eberling drove in a pair with another single to make it 3-0.
Garrett’s replacement, Jayden Blashinski, fared no better as Dublin Coffman plated four in the second, highlighted by Heafke’s RBI double and a Jack Hamilton RBI single.
Brandin Muniz came in, and after hitting his first two batters to plate the Shamrock’s seventh run, became a world beater, pitching 5 1/3 innings of scoreless ball to help the Bobcats crawl back into it.
“In the beginning we weren’t ready to play. It was a mental thing and that leaked into the physical,” Pavlue said.
Although Dominic LeFever’s RBI double got the Bobcats on the board in third, they couldn’t really crack Dublin Coffman starter Marcus Ernst, who struck out eight and allowed four hits in four innings. He also helped his cause at the plate with a double and two runs.
It was after Ernst left when North Port got going. The Shamrock pitchers hit six batters on the night, including two in the fifth that helped cut the lead to 7-2.
Canyon Campbell got two strikeouts with the bases loaded to end the threat, but he became wild in the seventh, hitting three batters to cut the lead to 7-3 and bring the tying run to the plate.
Will Kranstuber allowed a sacrifice fly to Alex Partridge to cut the lead to 7-4, setting up Polston’s near heroics.
“We fought well in the end, but you can’t rely on one inning to bring you back into the game. The Shamrocks played much better than we did,” Pavlue said.
Haefke and Hamilton had two hits for the Shamrocks. LeFever also had two hits for the Bobcats.
DUBLIN COFFMAN 7, NORTH PORT 6
Dublin Coffman 340 000 0 – 7 7 1
North Port 001 010 4 – 6 7 4
WP: Marcus Ernst, LP: Dillon Garrett. Leading hitters: (DC) Cal Haefke 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Andrew Eberling 1-3, 2 RBI; (NP) Logan Polston 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI. Records: Dublin Coffman 1-0, North Port 8-6.