Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Manta Rays Flat in District Championship

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Manta Rays Flat in District Championship

Article excerpt

ENGLEWOOD -- In a season of rainouts, rescheduled games, watching the weather radar and cancellations, the Lemon Bay High softball team should have been ready for a 4 p.m. Monday game, especially since it was for the district title.

That was not the case.

Hot-hitting Wauchula Hardee County scored two runs in each of the first three innings and went on to a 9-2 victory over the Manta Rays in the Class 5A-District 11 title game at Lemon Bay High.

"It's not like it was anything out of the normal," Lemon Bay coach Kim Pinkham said. "You can't use that as an excuse."

Denied their third straight district title, the Manta Rays (11- 10) will hit the road Thursday at Cape Coral for a 5A-Region 3 quarterfinal against the Seahawks, a former district foe.

Scoring in double figures in four of their past five games, going 4-0-1 during that stretch, the Wildcats banged out 13 hits, some of the bloop and finding-the-right-spot variety, and took advantage of five Manta Rays errors.

Lemon Bay banged out 11 hits, but it came from five players. Vicki LaMarr had three and Kacyn Shirley, Baleigh Clemens, Brooke Clemens and Amanda Chapman had two.

"We couldn't put them together," Pinkham said. "We needed the unselfish play today.

"We didn't capitalize on stuff. We had quite a few bunts. We had a couple of base runners on."

Cleanup hitter Brooke Clemens knocked in the only two Lemon Bay runs with run-scoring singles in the first and fifth innings.

Lemon Bay split with Hardee (15-3-1) during the regular season, losing 1-0 at home on Feb. 28, one of two shutouts suffered during the season, and winning 11-2 on March 28 in Wauchula. The Manta Rays won the coin toss for the top seed and home field advantage in the district final.

Now, they must become road warriors beginning Thursday in Cape Coral, a team they did not play nor have seen this season.

CLASS 6A-DISTRICT 11

VENICE3

NORTH FORT MYERS1

VENICE -- A right fielder for most of the season, Logan Lincoln unsuccessfully has tried to throw a runner out at first base this season. …

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