By Bruce Robins, Sun Correspondent
NORTH PORT — Senior Tyler O’Boyle pitched a complete game and sophomore Alex Partridge delivered the big hit as North Port defeated Fort Myers, 4-3, in a Class 7A-District 11 baseball game Friday night.
The Bobcats finally picked up their first district win after five losses behind the strong pitching of O’Boyle, who ran into trouble in the second inning, but otherwise kept the Green Wave off balance and off the base paths.
“He (O’Boyle) would be the first to tell you he didn’t really have his stuff early in the game,” North Port coach Dan Pavlue said. “But he found it, and in the third inning and moving forward he had it and pitched a heck of a game for us.”
O’Boyle gave up just three hits, walked one and struck out six.
“The first couple of innings were pretty bad,” he said. “I just had to hit my spots and then let my defense do the rest from there.”
The Bobcats got a run in the bottom of the first as Nathan Vetter reached on an error by Fort Myers shortstop Cameron Wademan, went to third on a single by Patrick Smith, and scored on a base hit by Kody Brittain.
The Wave (8-11, 2-4) got to O’Boyle in the top of the second. Jake Griffith was hit by a pitch and Wes Wiles doubled to put runners on second and third. Griffith scored on a sacrifice fly by Grant Boland and Wiles came home on a fielder’s choice.
Pinch runner Daylun Salters stole second and Justin Warren followed with a triple to drive in Salters and make it 3-1. But further damage was avoided when left fielder Dillon Garrett threw out Warren at the plate trying to score on a fly ball.
North Port (9-9, 1-5) wasted no time tying it up as Ethan Krizen led off the bottom of the second with a walk and Garrett followed with a single. The runners moved up on Brandon Corso’s sacrifice bunt, then Krizen scored on a wild pitch by Fort Myers starter Jason Schumbacker. Charlie Davidson followed with a single to bring home Garrett and tie the game at 3-3.
That’s how it stayed until the bottom of the fifth inning when Kody Brittain drew a two-out walk off reliever Andrew Dailey. Partridge then laced a line drive into the left field corner for a double as Brittain scored all the way from first. Partridge was brought up from the JV team three weeks ago and was making his first start at first base for the Bobcats.
“I was happy with the way we played tonight,” Pavlue said. “I challenged our kids to not necessarily make a physical adjustment, but look at how we were playing the game and make an adjustment in intensity and make an adjustment in focus. It was really a lot of little things that we looked at, how can we do some little things better, and I think it added up to a pretty clean ball game for us.
“We need good pitching, strong defense behind it and hitters who are going up to the plate and swinging the bat and tonight we had it. Partridge came up clutch when we needed it.”
Added O’Boyle: “It felt pretty good to get a win after five losses in the district. We came out and we did what we had to do. We put the ball in play and put pressure on them, and I let my defense do the work.”
NORTH PORT 4, FORT MYERS 3
Fort Myers 030 000 0 — 3 3 1
North Port 120 010 x — 4 8 1
WP: Tyler O’Boyle; LP: Andrew Dailey. Leading hitters: (NP) Alex Partridge 2-3, 2B, RBI; Patrick Smith 2-3, 2B; Kody Brittain 1-2, run, RBI; Charlie Davidson 1-4, RBI.