By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
NORTH PORT — Lemon Bay High School wasted no time scoring enough runs in a 16-0 four-inning run-rule win over Imagine School Thursday night.
“We took advantage of opportunities we had to score runs,” Lemon Bay coach Casey Hanrahan said. “We did a good job staying back and hitting the ball the other way and just working on things we need to improve on.”
Although the rulebook had mercy on the Sharks, the Manta Rays did not.
Lemon Bay sent eight or more batters to the plate in three of the four innings. On offense, they totaled 13 hits, 12 RBI, seven stolen bases and six walks drawn.
The Manta Rays jumped all over Imagine in the first inning, scoring four runs to quickly set the tone. They batted around in the third and fourth innings, adding five and seven runs, respectively, to their lead.
Flynn Stewart and Brandon Gielow each scored three runs for the Manta Rays, as Gielow went 4 for 4 with the bat and also added an RBI. Stewart had two hits and two RBI.
Warnner Rincones and Tyler Kreissler each drove in three runs in the win.
Kreissler helped his own cause, earning the win as the starting pitcher.
The right-hander allowed just two hits – to Aaron Sheldon and Brett Hickman – in three shutout innings. Both of those Sharks ran into outs on the base paths.
“Our starting pitcher came in and threw strikes. He’s been really consistent for us all season.”
Imagine coach Steve Saborse found it difficult to draw positives from the drubbing, but did have a positive message for his team after the game.
“They just have to keep competing. They have to keep the fire lit and gear up towards our district games. If you win that first game of districts, the rest of the season will be forgotten really quick.”
Hanrahan was able to empty his bench in the fourth inning, which allowed Richie Oliva, John Moore and Colby McConley to make their varsity baseball debuts.
“That’s really exciting for those guys,” Hanrahan said. “They’ve worked hard all year. They earned the call up.”
LEMON BAY 16, IMAGINE 0
Imagine 000 0 — 0 2 7
Lemon Bay 405 7 — 16 13 2
WP: Tyler Kreissler. LP: Brian Smith. Leading Hitters: Flynn Stewart 2-3, 3 R, 2 RBI; Brandon Gielow 4-4, 3 R, RBI; Kreissler 3 RBI. Records: Lemon Bay 15-8, Imagine 2-15.