By Gary Brown, Sun Correspondent
PORT CHARLOTTE – Port Charlotte’s baseball team is getting hot at just the right time.
The Pirates defeated visiting North Fort Myers 7-1 Monday night in the first round of the District 6A-11 tournament. It was Port Charlotte’s fifth straight victory and gave it a berth in the semifinals at 7 p.m. today at home against Island Coast.
Port Charlotte, 16-8 overall, again got a strong pitching effort from senior Matt LePoint. LePoint pitched six-plus innings, allowing just three hits and one run with 11 strikeouts.
“My best pitch was my fast ball,” said LePoint, who lost the shutout in the seventh. “I’ve had 12 strikeouts twice this season. I threw 105 pitches tonight and I don’t think I’ll be able to pitch the rest of the tournament.”
Said Pirates coach Rodney Taylor: “Matt pitched well again tonight. He was getting up a little in his pitch count early, but settled down well.”
The Pirates’ offense got off to a good start and never let up, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first.
With one out, Jordan Delcolle, Matt Intihar and Romain Reynolds each singled to load the bases. Mitchell Derocher then hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring Delcolle before Jason James singled in Intihar and Derocher.
Port Charlotte scored two more runs in the third. Delcolle and Intihar both singled and then Reynolds smashed a deep drive to center field for a two-run double. Reynolds was thrown out at third base trying to stretch the hit.
“That (Reynold’s double) was a real big hit for us,” Taylor said. “That put us in good shape.”
The Pirates added a run apeice in the fifth and sixth innings.
Intihar singled to bring in Delcolle with the sixth run in the fifth inning. Delcolle reached base with a double. Both Intihar and Delcolle had three hits in the contest. In the sixth inning, Hunter Wilder had an run-scoring single in the sixth inning.
Intihar relieved LePoint in the seventh after the Pirates starter walked the first batter. After striking out the first batter he faced, Intihar walked a batter and another batter reached base on an infield error to load the bases.
A fielder’s choice brought in the Red Knights’ only run. Intihar got the next batter to ground out to end the game.
The Pirates finished with 11 hits to just three for North Fort Myers. If the Pirates win today, they’ll play in the finals Thursday at 7 p.m.
Both the first and second-place teams move to the regional tournament.
PORT CHARLOTTE 7, NORTH FORT MYERS 1
North Fort Myers 000 000 1 – 1 3 0
Port Charlotte 302 011 – 7 11 2
WP-Matt LePoint. LP-Peyton Bourque. Leading hitters: (PC) Jordan Delcolle 3-4, 2B, 3 runs; Matt Intihar 3-3, RBI, 2 runs; Romain Reynolds 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI.