By Bruce Robbins, Sun Correspondent
ENGLEWOOD – The Dunbar Tigers put up little resistance as Lemon Bay cruised to a 23-0 victory in a District 5A-12 baseball matchup Tuesday night.
The winless Tigers have been struggling this season, and the Manta Rays took full advantage by pounding out 16 hits, while also benefiting from four walks, four hit batters and four Dunbar errors. Seven Lemon Bay batters had two hits apiece, as leadoff hitter Trey Fields reached base and scored four times. Jacob Treece and Chace Schork scored three runs apiece, while pitcher Zach Taylor helped his cause with four RBI. Schork and Matt Molinari each drove in three.
The victory was the Manta Rays’ third in a row, bringing their overall record to 6-7.
“It’s good to win a district game,” Lemon Bay coach Casey Hanrahan said. “I felt like we did everything we needed to do, throw strikes, make routine plays and hit the ball hard. It’s a good win for us.”
The tone was set early as the Manta Rays pushed six runs across the plate in the bottom of the first inning off Dunbar starter Alex VanMeter.
Fields led off with a double down the right-field line, stole third and scored on a base hit by Treece. Tyler Kreissler’s fly ball to center field fell in for a double and Schork walked to load the bases. Warnner Rincones drove in another run with a single and Molinari followed with another single to make it 3-0. Schork came home on a balk by VanMeter and two more runs scored on a sacrifice fly by Taylor and a throwing error.
Lemon Bay scored eight more times in the second. The inning began with Fields and Treece getting hit by pitches. Four straight hits followed to score four more runs and another scored on a ground out.
Taylor followed with a double to drive in the sixth run of the frame and Fields tripled to score Taylor. Treece then bought home Fields with another base hit.
Nine more runs scored in the bottom of the third as the Manta Rays sent 13 men to the plate. The big blows were a two-run double by Taylor and a two-run triple by Schork. The mercy rule was invoked after the Tigers batted in the top of the fourth.
With the victory, Lemon Bay sits alone atop the district standings with a 3-0 record.
“I feel like we’re getting into a groove,” Hanrahan said. “I feel like we’re starting to find out who we are and it’s something to build off of. Halfway through districts we have some momentum following behind us. We’ve got to keep our heads down and keep working hard because you know as well as I do that this game’s got a way to humble you if you get too high on your horse.”
LEMON BAY 23, DUNBAR 0
Dunbar 000 0 – 0 2 4
Lemon Bay 689 X – 23 16 1
WP: Zach Taylor. LP: Alex VanMeter. Leading hitters: (LB) Zach Taylor 2-2, 2 2B, 4 RBI; Chace Schork 2-2, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI; Warnner Rincones 2-2, 2 RBI; Tyler Kreissler 2-2, 2 RBI; Jacob Treece 2-2, 2 RBI; Matt Molinari 2-4, 3 RBI.