Suncoast Holds On To Beat Cardinal Newman
In the first five games of the season, the Suncoast Chargers had scored seven runs offensively. Offensive production was something Manager Brook Cross knew could possibly be an issue at times.
Then came Monday night.
The Chargers put up seven runs against the Cardinal Newman Crusaders, matching their run total for the first five games combined in just seven innings of play. The Chargers then held off a comeback bid from the visiting Crusaders to prevail with the 7-6 victory. Alex Drew had a sacrifice fly RBI that drove in Nate Brodsky for the deciding run.
“We had better approaches at the plate and we were more aggressive,” Cross said. “It really was just a matter of time. We couldn’t be as bad as we were for so long. I knew we were going to struggle early offensively but not tonight.”
Suncoast’s runs came in chunks on the night. They got two runs in the second inning when first baseman Tyler Frye hit an RBI double to drive in pitcher Liam Lyons, who started the inning off with a leadoff single. Frye came around to score later on a smart base-running play that saw him come home on a stolen base by Brodsky.
The Chargers came back in the fourth with a four-spot, as they started the inning off with four straight singles. Frye collected his second RBI of the game during the big frame.
“I felt good. I felt like I was seeing the ball a lot better,” Frye said. “I was taking a lot better approaches, swinging at pitches in the zone more and not look at as many pitches. That has pretty much been my approach the entire season, to not look at as many pitches and jump on the first pitch fastballs and pitches in my zone. I felt like I did that tonight.”
At that point the Chargers were cruising. They were up 6-1 and Lyons had a no-hitter going through five. Then the sixth inning arrived and Cardinal Newman stormed back.
The Crusaders got to Lyons, putting up four runs on three hits in the sixth. The inning featured some timely hits as well as some smart base running, and was highlighted by second baseman Chris Cammarata’s two-RBI single. Suddenly, with the score 6-5, it was a whole new ballgame.
Suncoast came up in the bottom of the inning and got the run back on Drew’s sac fly. That would turn out to be the winning run, as Cardinal Newman got one more run in the top half of the seventh, but couldn’t drive in the tying run.
“If we could start the game from the fifth inning on we would be OK,” Cardinal Newman Manager Sam Howell said. “It was the same with the King’s game. We get behind in the beginning and then about the fifth inning we turn it on. We have to play a full seven innings.”
In the end Lyons got the win, going five innings while giving up those five runs on just two hits, both of which didn’t come until the sixth inning.
“I felt really good on the mound tonight,” Lyons said. “I didn’t have to throw as hard as I needed to every pitch so I was just cruising along.”
Tyler Lavery, who got the win in his varsity debut in the home opener against Dwyer, came on and got the save. Cross said that going forward, Lavery is going to be his go-to guy on the mound, no matter what role that is.
“He’s clearly our number one at this point,” Cross said. “He’s our most reliable guy so with a one-run game and a low pitch count and him being available, we had confidence in him.”