PUNTA GORDA - Kevin Conway was a one-man wrecking crew for the Charlotte High School baseball team in a game the team absolutely had to win.
Conway drove in all three of Charlotte's runs, including the game-winning, walk-off double in the 12th inning as the Tarpons overcame a sloppy start and rallied for a 3-2 win over Fort Myers in a District 7A-11 marathon.
Bryce Hayse pitched two innings of scoreless relief for the win, helping the cause by covering first on a diving stop by first baseman Hal Turner to get Max Fleming in the top of the 12th to keep the game tied.
Cade Reich started the bottom of the 12th with a single off Justin Warren. Conway came up and smashed his third double of the night into left-center. Reich beat the throw home to end a three-hour, 20-minute thriller.
It seemed like destiny for Conway, who came on in the fourth and changed the whole tone for Charlotte (10-5, 2-2), allowing just three hits in seven innings while striking out 13.
That momentum carried over to the plate. In the fifth, Jonah Bourque and Reich singled before Conway lined it down the left field line for a two-run double that tied the game.
"On the mound I was getting my off-speed pitches over early and all my pitches were working," Conway said. "I was hitting everything at the plate, timing up everything well.
Charlotte was not sharp at all early on. Fort Myers scored first in the first off Kyle Machado. Cam Wademan led off with a double and after a botched foul pop by the Tarpons, reached third on a balk before Fleming hit a sac fly to left to make it 1-0.
After stranding the bases loaded in the second, The Green Wave struck again by taking advantage of Tarpon mistakes.
Zachary Root led off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pickoff throw from Machado. After a wild pitch moved Root to third, he scored on a Keaton Kentworthy single to make it 2-0.
Meanwhile, the Tarpons ran themselves out of a rally in the second when Machado was caught stealing and Josh Torres failed to tag up in time on a liner to right, stranding him at third.
Meanwhile, Machado, who is coming back after an illness and who was on a pitch count, struggled, walking three and running high counts on many others in three innings, allowing just one earned run.
Reich scored twice for Charlotte
Kentworthy had three hits for the Green Wave (10-6, 2-2), but also struck out 18 times and stranded 10 runners.
"Kevin did the job he's done all year. He's a bulldog. I want to see us hit earlier and make contact and we need to clean up the baserunning mistakes," Charlotte coach Lavell Cudjo said. "These district games are tough because everyone competes and we found a way to get it done tonight."
CHARLOTTE 3, FORT MYERS 2 (12)
Fort Myers 101 000 000 000 - 2 9 2
Charlotte 000 020 000 001 - 3 10 1
Batteries: Zachary Root, Justin Clark (4), Justin Warren (11) and Max Fleming, Kyle Machado, Kevin Conway (4), Bryce Hayse (11) and Aaron Martins. WP: Hayse, LP: Warren. Top hitters: Kevin Conway (C) 3-5, 3 2B, 3 RBI, Cade Reich (C) 2-6, 2 runs. Rec. FM (10-6, 2-2), CHS (10-5, 2-2)