By GARY BROWN
SARASOTA — The North Port Little League 10-12 All-Stars combined clutch hitting and strong pitching to defeat area rival Englewood, 5-1, in the District 16 opener Monday night. North Port will now play Sarasota National at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
North Port took the lead quickly with three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Davon Jackson and Landon Wade walked and then Eli Porinchak doubled to left field to score both runners. Porinchak then scored on a ground out.
Englewood came back and scored its only run in the top of the third inning. Colton Whitehead had a double and Nevaeh Warren followed with another double to score Whitehead. North Port put the game away with two more runs in the bottom of the third inning. Jacob Lombard pounded a triple to score Landon Davidson and Porinchak and that concluded the game’s scoring.
Both team’s pitching was strong except for a couple of innings. Logan Cook pitched five solid innings for the winners, giving up just the one run in the third inning. Lombard pitched the final inning. Andrew Smith started for Englewood and pitched 4 2/3 innings, only giving up two runs after the first inning. Tyler Whitmore pitched the final third of an inning.
Englewood also has Wesley Stines as a pitcher. Stines and Smith both had no-hitters in the regular season. Stines led Lemon Bay Funeral Home to the Englewood championship.
“We played very well,” said North Port manager Dave Santimauro. “Our pitching and defense were very strong and I was pleased with how we played.”
Porinchak gives North Port a strong all-around game. Playing for the Red Sox in the regular season, he had two fence-clearing home runs plus several inside the park home runs. He also can pitch and play first base.
“We had a great team effort,” said Englewood manager Shane Whitehead. “The kids played hard.”
In other district play, Sarasota National scored two runs in the sixth inning to edge Venice, 5-4, and earn the right to play North Port.
The championship game for the 10-12 division is scheduled to be at Atwater Community Park in North Port. The first game will be Saturday at 9:30 a.m. If a second game is needed, it will be at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.