After a 12-inning marathon of a win on Friday, Charlotte coach Lavelle Cudjo didn’t have any doubt his team would bring the energy against rival Port Charlotte.
Pouncing on five Pirate errors, the Tarpon bats came alive and led Charlotte to an 8-1 non-district win.
The win ended Port Charlotte’s seven-game win streak.
“It’s a rivalry game, I don’t have to worry about them being up for this,” Cudjo said. “They know each other. They’re Twittering, Facebooking all week. It’s great competition between the kids. We came out aggressive knowing we had a long week.”
The Tarpons (11-5) opened the scoring in the first inning and plated a run in all but one inning.
After Cade Reich drew a lead-off walk, a ground ball hit to third by Kevin Conway got lost in the sun and squeaked into left field.
After a single from Bryce Hayes loaded the bases, Port Charlotte pitcher Tyler Zylstra walked in a run. Charlotte added another run in the inning on a sacrifice fly to center field to score Conway.
The errors continued for Port Charlotte (12-6). A throw home from first was slightly off and dropped by the catcher as John Dominguez raced home for the score.
“We did not play clean at all,” Port Charlotte coach Rodney Taylor said. “In our seven game winning streak we had, we were making the plays behind our pitchers. Pitchers didn’t do that bad of a job — we had too many walks — but when we had opportunities, when we had balls hit at us, we didn’t back our pitchers up today.”
But Port Charlotte cut the lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the third on an RBI double from Hunter Wilder, scoring Scott Mclean from first. The Pirates had chances, but couldn’t a hit at the right time to trim the lead.
Charlotte kept driving the ball, racking up 10 hits. The Tarpons flashed their depth with seven hitters driving in a run.
“This was a chance to get the bats going,” Cudjo said. “We hit it hard at them and they made some mistakes, but we did our job. We’ve been waiting for our bats to come alive. We know we can hit, but we’re seeing everyone’s best pitcher. Gotta tip your hat, they throw strikes, we hit it hard.”
In the fourth, Kevin Conway drove in a run on a deep sacrifice fly to center field. The Tarpons added four insurance runs in the fifth to put the game out of reach. Pitcher Cam Koch pitched five innings, allowing one earned on four hits with five strikeouts.
Charlotte now turns to two strong district opponents to round out this week. They travel to North Port today and host Venice on Friday. Port Charlotte will play Cardinal Mooney on Wednesday and will play Lemon Bay Friday pending weather.
“The energy is where I want it to be,” Cudjo said. “I just want to build on that because you know what, tomorrow might be a one-run game. We’re gonna build on this as far as the energy.”