By Bruce Robins, Sun Correspondent
ENGLEWOOD — Senior Zach Taylor threw a complete game two-hit shutout on Senior Night at Jack Llewellyn Field Wednesday night as Lemon Bay defeated Imagine School of North Port, 8-0, in a non-district baseball game.
The righthander blanked the Sharks for the second time in a week, striking out four and retiring the last 13 batters he faced, as Lemon Bay honored seniors Taylor, Trey Fields, Matt Molinari and Josh Sweiderk.
“Throughout the last four years with these four seniors that are still on the team, it’s been a pleasure coaching those guys,” Lemon Bay coach Casey Hanrahan said. “I’ve learned a lot from them and I hope they’ve learned a little something from me in the past couple of years. It’s good to get out on Senior Night and get a win.”
The Mantas got on the board with three runs in the bottom of the second inning. Singles by Flynn Stewart, Brandon Gielow, and a bunt single by Taylor Haynes loaded the bases with nobody out.
Stewart scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Jacob Treece, and Molinari followed with a double to score Haynes and Cole Dukes, who had walked.
Lemon Bay (14-9) made it 4-0 in the bottom of the third as Sweiderk was hit by a pitch and Stewart singled. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch, and Sweiderk came home on a ground out by Gielow.
The Mantas got four more in the fifth inning.
Fields led off with a bunt single, stole second and went to third on a throwing error. Sweiderk was hit by a pitch and Stewart walked to load the bases, then Fields scored on a ground out to short by Gielow.
A wild pitch by reliever Michael Fisher allowed Sweiderk to score, and although Stewart was tagged out at the plate attempting to score on another wild pitch, Haynes drew a walk and Treece lined a shot into the right field corner for a stand-up triple. Dukes then drove in Treece with a single for Lemon Bay’s final run of the evening.
Meanwhile, Taylor allowed only two base runners all night, a single by Clay Bombenger in the first and a single by Dillon Williams in the third. Neither advanced from there.
“That was probably Taylor’s best performance up to this point,” Hanrahan said. “A win is a win and I’ll take it any day. We played some good defense, we pitched well and we got some key hits when we needed them, so I’m happy with the way we played tonight.”
The Sharks (2-19) lost to the Mantas, 16-0, last week, so coach Steve Saborse was pleased with the effort from his team.
“I’m very proud of the boys tonight,” Saborse said. “Last week, they came to our place and embarrassed us 16-0. All I asked of them was to fight their butts off tonight and no double digits. We got great pitching by Alex Wilbor and Michael Fisher before he got injured and had great defense behind them, so I’m very proud of them all, despite the 8-0 loss.”
LEMON BAY 8, IMAGINE SCHOOL 0
Imagine 000 000 0 — 0 2 2
Lemon Bay 031 040 X — 8 9 0
WP: Zach Taylor; LP: Alex Wilbor. Leading hitters: (LB) Trey Fields 2-4, run; Flynn Stewart 2-3, run; Matt Molinari 2B, 2 RBI; Jacob Treece 3B, run, 2 RBI. Records: Imagine 2-19, Lemon Bay (14-9).