By Pete Sisk, Sun Correspondent
CAPE CORAL — It was well worth the wait for the lady Manta Rays.
Lemon Bay needed 12 innings Wednesday night, scratching out a 6-5 victory at Mariner High School that made for a late but happy trip home.
“We found a way to get it done and we won,” Lemon Bay coach Kim Pinkham said.
The teams battled for more than three hours at Mariner, playing long after the Mariner and Charlotte squads had finished their business on the adjacent baseball field and gone home.
Kasi Shaffer’s bloop double down the right-field line scored Leanna Kelly with the go-ahead run in the top of the 12th for Lemon Bay. Kelly reached base on the fifth Tritons error of the night.
Lemon Bay was able to do its fair share of damage against Mariner’s strikeout queen Hannah Holloway. Holloway, who set the state strikeout record as a freshman pitcher last year and broke it this season, struck out 14 but allowed 15 hits and six runs.
Those 14 K’s gave Holloway 251 for the season.
“We’ve been telling them all year we’ve got to keep the ball in play,” Pinkham said. “The strikeouts kill us. They kill most teams. But we had too many opportunities.
“That’s a good little pitcher, and she did a good job of keeping us completely off balance all night, but we kept the ball in play and finally found a way to get the winning run in.”
Holloway was also 4 for-6 at the plate, including a double that led to her scoring the tying run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Logan Johnson, the second Manta Rays pitcher, worked 6 1/3 innings in relief of starter Bailey Grossenbacher.
Karlie Sweiderk had a two-run single in Lemon Bay’s four-run fourth inning.
The Manta Rays led 4-2 after that rally and still held a 5-4 lead going to the bottom of the seventh.
LEMON BAY 6, MARINER 5
Lemon Bay 000 410 000 001 — 6 15 1
Mariner 200 101 100 000 — 5 12 5
WP: Logan Johnson. LP: Hannah Holloway. Leading hitters: (LB) Bailey Grossenbacher 3-6, RBI, 2B, R; (M) Hannah Holloway 4-6, 2B, SB, R. Records: Lemon Bay 10-11, Mariner 15-9.
CAPE CORAL – The Fighting Tarpons got good pitching, good defense and just enough hitting to slip past Mariner’s Tritons.
Kevin Conley pitched a two-hitter for Charlotte, striking out eight and walking three in going the distance. Both hits were singles.
“It was a good, clean game,” Charlotte coach Lavell Cudjo said. “I thought we hit the ball well. Kevin pitched a good game.
“That’s the way we want them to play.”
Lavell Cudjo Jr. scored both of the Tarpons’ runs, including the eventual game-winner in the top of the sixth. Cudjo led off the inning with a triple and came home on Garrett Dunson’s RBI single. Justin Hinchey’s RBI single in the fourth scored Cudjo with the first Charlotte run.
Alex Freeland’s single scored Louis Alberro, who also singled, for Mariner’s run in the fifth inning.
Freeland took the loss on the mound in relief.
CHARLOTTE 2, MARINER 1
Charlotte 000 101 1 — 2 10 1
Mariner 000 010 0 — 1 2 0
WP: Kevin Conley. LP: Alex Freeland. Leading hitters: (C) Lavell Cudjo 3-3, 3B, 2 R; (M) Freeland 1-3, RBI. Records: Charlotte 15-5, Mariner 11-12.
TRACK AND FIELD
The North Port girls and boys track and field teams competed at District 4A-8 meet at Seminole High School on Wednesday and qualified multiple athletes for next week’s Region 4A-2 meet.
The girls will send 10 Bobcats onto regionals while the boys will send five. Despite 12 scratches on the day, the girls they still finished fourth with 84 points while the boys stumbled to a seventh-place finish with 25 points.
Riverview took the girls title with 161 points while Lakewood Ranch was the boys champion with 141.75 points.
Alexis Francavilla qualified individually for North Port in three events, finishing second in the long jump and shot put and third in the triple jump. She was also part of the 4X1 relay team with Emani Jefferson, Aarmani Seale and Daham-shel Jean that placed second. Jefferson was also third in the high jump and Seale took fourth in the triple jump.
Other lady Bobcats that performed well at districts to qualify for regionals were Carly Lovett (second in high jump) and Morgan Gloster (second in pole vault). The 4X8 relay team of Lindsay Boethig, Kaley Boethig, Kayla Dennis and Shelby Cutchineal will also run next week after placing second at districts.
The boys qualified for regionals in two events. Daniel Gonzalez placed second in the discus and the 4X8 relay team of Louie Dietrich, Javier Amaya, Evan Weisberger and Charles Moody placed third.
The Region 4A-2 meet will take place on April 29 at George Jenkins