By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — For the second night in a row, the Port Charlotte baseball team watched as a 6-2 lead withered away late in the game.
And for the second night in a row, the Pirates benefited from some walk-off heroics. This time it was Matt LePoint who delivered a game-winning single in the seventh inning to beat Manatee 7-6 Wednesday night.
“It’s a nice way to win,” said Port Charlotte coach Rodney Taylor, whose team bested Ida Baker in eight innings on Tuesday evening. “You don’t want to get used to doing that, but we ‘d love to get that lead and learn to hang on to the lead.”
The seventh began when Matt Intihar reached base on an error and then advanced to second on another error. That was the theme of the night for Port Charlotte, as six Hurricanes errors directly led to six Pirates runs.
“That’s very important,” Taylor said. “We were on the other end of that before. Take advantage of their errors. That ended up being the (game-winning run).”
Port Charlotte starting pitcher Matt Defoe allowed just three of the runs in 5.1 innings of work. After three strikeouts in the opening frame, he had only one more the rest of the night.
That one other strikeout, however, ended a threat in the fifth inning. Defoe let the first two batters reach base, but left them stranded by retiring the next three.
Manatee tagged Defoe and reliever Damien Ashley for four runs in the sixth inning. A leadoff double, a groundout and a single ended Defoe’s night, but Ashley was able to record just one out as he surrendered three runs on four hits and a fielder’s choice.
“Our pitchers did a great job for us,” Taylor said. “I tip my hat to Manatee. They came out in that big inning. … (Our) kids didn’t give up. They battled back again in the bottom of the seventh and did what they had to do.”
Port Charlotte took advantage of Manatee errors in the third and fifth innings. Both frames the Hurricanes committed a pair of errors, which the Pirates capitalized on for two and three runs, respectively.
Jason James had a two-run single in the third to give Port Charlotte what was a 4-0 lead at the time.
Trevor Bloom earned the win by pitching a scoreless top of the seventh inning. Intihar scored three runs, despite going 0-for-4 at the plate. The RBI for LePoint was his second of the night following a single in the second inning for the Pirates first run.
PORT CHARLOTTE 7, MANATEE 6
Manatee 000 204 0 — 6 13 6Port Charlotte 013 020 1 — 7 8 2
WP: Trevor Bloom. LP: Andrew Schafer. Leading Hitters: LePoint 2-4, 2 RBI; Intihar 0-4, 3 R. Records: PC: 15-8.