Written by Jim Brockman on March 4, 2014 | Herald-Tribune


Sailing to a Victory

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Sarasota Sailors looked more like a team ready for a playoff run than a team getting ready for the heart of its regular season schedule.


Facing crosstown rival, the host Riverview Rams, in an early-season matchup at Twin Lakes Park, Sarasota played solid, smart baseball in every aspect of the game.


The Sailors (6-0) remained undefeated as they slapped out 12 hits in support of three strong pitchers for a 7-1 victory over the Rams (5-4).


"We're playing good baseball," veteran Sarasota baseball coach Clyde Metcalf said. "We're getting good pitching and playing really well defensively. We just seem to wear people down offensively. We're scoring eight or nine runs a game on average."


The game began as a pitchers' duel between southpaws.


Sarasota senior starter Zach McMullen, who picked up the win, allowed just one hit through four innings. He gave up a leadoff double to Riverview outfielder Justin Cohen, and that was it.


McMullen fanned six Rams, including striking out the side in the bottom of the second inning.


Riverview starter Matt Peters blanked the Sailors on one hit through the first three innings. But Sarasota started to get it going in the top of the fourth.


Dylan Busby led off the inning with a single to right field. Catcher Brandon Chapman walked to chase Peters. Evan Mendoza greeted right-handed reliever Alex Detwiler with a single to load the bases. Matt Schlabach delivered an RBI single to break a scoreless tie and Skylar Frey added a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead.


The Sailors added three runs to their lead in the fifth. McMullen got it started with a leadoff single. Busby followed with a sharp single to center field and Mendoza laid down a perfect bunt to load the bases with one out. A pair of Riverview errors and an RBI single by Frey gave Sarasota a 5-0 lead.


"We seem to struggle early in games and then we just hit our stride and get going," Metcalf said. "I'm very pleased with where we are at. All aspects of our game are good right now."


Sarasota's Tyler Leonard collected a leadoff single in the sixth inning. He moved to third base on a double by Busby. Chapman drove them both home with a two-run double.


The Rams broke a 30-inning scoreless streak by Sarasota pitchers with a run in the bottom of the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Sam Danheisser.


McMullen and relievers Joey Cavallaro and Drew Beyer allowed just one hit each for the Sailors.


"The pitching has been exceptional," Metcalf said. "I thought all three of them did a good job. It's good to see us command our pitches. We have command of three pitches. "When you play defense behind guys like that, it makes it tough to score. This is a veteran group that comes to work every day."



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