By Bruce Robins, Sun Correspondent
ENGLEWOOD – Lemon Bay took advantage of timely hitting and some sloppy Port Charlotte defense to breeze to an 11-2 victory in a non-district softball game Monday night.
“It’s always nice to win on Senior Night,” Lemon Bay coach Kim Pinkham said. “For how we started, that was a good ending.”
The first three Port Charlotte batters reached base against Lemon Bay starter Logan Johnson, but Johnson got out of the jam by spearing a line drive off the bat of Jaiden Dabney and turning it into a double play before striking out Seaaira Yiengst to end the inning.
Lemon Bay got a run in the bottom of the frame as Bailey Grossenbacher reached on an error, stole second and scored on Johnson’s single.
The Pirates took a brief lead in the top of the third on a two-run single by Ali Eugenius, but the Manta Rays’ Brooke Kvaternick countered with a two-run double in the bottom of the inning to give Lemon Bay the lead for good.
The Manta Rays added three more runs in the fourth and drove Port Charlotte starter Yiengst from the mound with four consecutive hits. Alexis Carpenter came on in relief, but hit Aimee Holt with a pitch to force in one run and walked Kvaternick to force in another.
Lemon Bay loaded the bases again in the bottom of the fifth and Yiengst returned to the mound to allow run-scoring hits to Kasi Shaffer, Johnson and Holt.
The Manta Rays got a two-run double in the bottom of the sixth from Christain Chandler to make it 11-2 as Lemon Bay finished with 15 hits on the night, while Johnson held the Pirates to just five.
“That’s the first complete game Logan has thrown in a while,” Pinkham said. “We had a few timely hits and a little bit better heads up base-running today, which was nice to see.”
Meanwhile, the Pirates play left coach Ryann Baker somewhat perplexed.
“We played a great game on Friday. We took a team 11 innings and lost 1-0,” Baker said. “Then we come out here and we’re not hitting the ball, we’re not fielding the ball and we’re not executing when we have runners on base. You can’t do that and expect to win a ball game.”
Lemon Bay’s three seniors – Shaffer, Holt and Kvaternick – combined for six hits and seven RBI on Senior Night as the Manta Rays improved to 9-10 on the season. Port Charlotte fell to 6-14.
“Lemon Bay hit the ball hard,” Baker said. “But there were some plays where if we would have made the plays when we had the opportunity, they wouldn’t have had that good solid hit because we would have been out of the inning. They played a good game, but we definitely didn’t play up to par. After Friday, I told them ‘You’ve only raised the bar for yourselves. Now we expect you to play like this every time.’ They can’t take a game off.”
LEMON BAY 11, PORT CHARLOTTE 2
Port Charlotte 002 000 0 – 2 5 6
Lemon Bay 102 332 X – 11 15 1
WP: Logan Johnson. LP: Seaaira Yiengst. Leading hitters: (LB) Bailey Grossenbacher 3-5, 3 R; Kasi Shaffer 3-4, 2 R, RBI; Logan Johnson 2-4, 3 RBI; Brooke Kvaternick 1-3, 2B, 3 RBI; (PC) Ali Eugenius 1-2, 2 RBI.