By Bruce Robins, Sun Correspondent
ENGLEWOOD — Jacob Treece dominated DeSoto County for six innings Tuesday night as Lemon Bay defeated the Bulldogs 5-0 in a District 5A-12 matchup.
The win lifted the Manta Rays record to 5-0 in the district and they clinched the top seed for the upcoming district tournament.
“It’s been a roller coaster ride this season. We’ve had our up and downs,” Lemon Bay coach Casey Hanrahan said. “It feels really good when we put a good one together. It’s what we’ve been working all year to accomplish. Getting an advantage in the playoffs so we can take this thing as far as we can.”
The Manta Rays rode the left arm of Treece as far as they could Tuesday. The junior faced the minimum number of batters through the first five innings as the Bulldogs failed to hit a ball out of the infield.
DeSoto County got its first hit on a single by Cameron Day with one out in the sixth inning. But after the first two batters reached base in the top of the seventh, Hanrahan was forced to replace Treece with Tyler Kreissler, who got the next two batters to pop up before striking out Austyn Hall to end the game.
Treece gave up just two hits, walked two and struck out eight in six innings of work.
“He was lights out until he started getting a little tired. That’s when we made the decision to take him out,” Hanrahan said. “I really wanted to see him go all the way. He was mixing up pitches. He was keeping it low in the zone. He was throwing mostly strikes. That’s all you can ask of a pitcher. As a staff, we’re really proud of that kid.”
Treece also helped his cause by going 3 for 3 at the plate with a single, double and triple. The Manta Rays had 10 hits in all, including five doubles, and started the scoring in the bottom of the second with two outs when Brandon Gielow singled.
DeSoto County appeared to have Gielow picked off first, but an error by second baseman Carlos Valenzuela allowed him to reach second. He then scored on Chace Schork’s double into the left field corner.
Lemon Bay added three more runs in the third inning off DeSoto County starter Tyler Mansfield. Trey Fields led off with a double and went to third when Treece beat out a bunt for a single. Warnner Rincones drove in both runners with a base hit down the left-field line. Another run scored when Josh Sweiderk walked and came around on Matt Molinari’s double.
The Manta Rays made it 5-0 in the fourth as Schork reached on a throwing error by DeSoto County shortstop Zach Aldred. Fields drove in Schork with a double to the gap in left-center field.
That just left it to Treece and Kreissler to finish off the Bulldogs as Lemon Bay evened its overall record at 8-8 after a 1-5 start.
“Tyler is the type of guy who can get warmed up on eight warmup pitches and come in there and throw strikes,” Hanrahan said. “He came in and did his job and finished it off for us.”
LEMON BAY 5, DESOTO COUNTY 0
DeSoto County 000 000 0 – 0 2 2
Lemon Bay 013 100 x – 5 10 1
WP: Jacob Treece. LP: Tyler Mansfield. Leading hitters: (LB) Jacob Treece 3-3, 2B, 3B; Trey Fields 2-4, 2 2B, RBI; Warnner Rincones 1-3, 2 RBI. Records: Lemon Bay (8-8, 5-0), DeSoto County (8-9, 3-2).