By Bruce Robins, Sun Correspondent
NORTH PORT — Bishop Verot took advantage of five North Port errors on the way to an 8-1 victory in a non-district baseball game Thursday night.
The teams were deadlocked in a scoreless duel through three innings before the Vikings put four runs on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning and pulled away from there.
“Especially against a good club like that, you can’t give them free outs,” Bobcat coach Dan Pavlue said. “We played very clean the first three innings and we were hitting the baseball hard, just right at people. But then it kind of fell apart after that and we shot ourselves in the foot way too much.”
North Port (10-12) turned two double plays in the first three innings, but the Bobcats committed three errors, along with two hit batters, that led to the Vikings big inning.
“We weren’t executing well from a pitching standpoint or a defensive standpoint and things got out of hand,” Pavlue said. “We have to get better at those situations, at minimizing when something goes bad and one run gets across. How can we minimize that and keep it from developing into that big inning?”
Brandin Muniz got through the first three innings on the mound for the Bobcats, but was relieved by Charlie Davidson during the Vikings rally in the fourth. Meanwhile, the Bobcats managed just two hits, a leadoff double by Davidson in the first and a single by Dominic LeFever in the fourth, off Verot starter Gunnar Byrd through the first four innings.
Byrd ran into trouble in the fifth after striking out the first two batters. He hit Colby Chippendale with a pitch, and Brandon Corso and Davidson followed with singles to load the bases. Byrd then plunked Dillon Garrett to force in a run, but Patrick Smith grounded into a force out to end the threat.
The Vikings (16-7) added single runs in the fifth and sixth, and two more in the seventh off reliever Alex Partridge. North Port’s night was capped off in the seventh when catcher Nathan Vetter led off with a double to deep center. The Bobcats sent a courtesy runner out for Vetter, but the umpires ruled that North Port had not called time out before making the substitution and called the runner out.
“You go up against a Bishop Verot, you have to play a clean game and you can’t make mistakes,” Pavlue said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t. And most times when you do that against a team like this, they’re going to take advantage of it.”
North Port visits Sarasota High tonight.
BISHOP VEROT 8, NORTH PORT 1
Bishop Verot 000 411 2 — 8 8 1
North Port 000 010 0 — 1 5 5
WP: Gunnar Byrd; LP: Brandin Muniz. Leading hitters: (NP) Charlie Davidson 2-3, 2B; (BV) Matthew Powell 2-2, run, RBI; Byrd 2-3, 2 runs. Records: Bishop Verot 16-7; North Port 10-12.