Written by Solange Reyner on March 21, 2014 | Herald-Tribune


Sailors rally late past Indians

VENICE, Fla. – The biggest high school baseball game of the prep season came down to a few miscues, and two extra innings, with Sarasota prevailing over nationally ranked Venice, 4-2, Friday night before a crowd of approximately 1,000 fans.


The game-winning play happened in the top of the ninth with the bases loaded for Sarasota. Brandon Chapman, who reached base after getting hit by a pitch, scored when Venice's Ryan Ahern was called for a balk. That made it 3-2 for the Sailors (12-0), with senior Sam Carrillo's sac-fly RBI one play later scoring Matt Schlabach making it a two-run lead.


Schlabach got on after squeezing a bunt down the first base line and after Ahern missed Venice first baseman Rhett Dinka's glove by a few inches with a throw. "I was just looking to get Brandon over to second but it ended up being a close play and we loaded the bases after that," said Schlabach.


Zach McMullen, a lefty, pitched lights out down the stretch, striking out five and earning the win for Sarasota. "I wanted the ball," said McMullen, who ranked the victory the highest of his baseball career. "I was feeling good and I was already loose at that point since I was already in the game."


McMullen replaced Evan Mendoza, who went seven innings and gave up six hits and two runs.


The game looked like it would end in the seventh with Mendoza on the mound. But, with one out and the Sailor's lead at 2-1, Venice took advantage of an errant throw by Mendoza toward second base. Langston Provitt advanced to third on the miscue and scored when Ryle Buckmaster flew one out to center field, tying the game at 2-all.


"It was a great game," Venice coach Craig Faulkner said. "And it's still early in the season for us, so we'll go back and fix some things but right now we have to focus on two 


Catcher Mike Rivera hit well for Venice, going 3-for-4 with an RBI double. Pitcher Brandon Elmy went 2-for-4 at the plate and lasted four innings, giving up four hits and two runs. Ahern threw 3 1/3 innings, giving up two runs, one earned.


Mendoza, Chapman, Schlabach, Carrillo, Cody Brickhouse, Skylar Frey and Dylan Busby each had a hit for Sarasota, but the defense has been the biggest highlight for the Sailors, who have only given up 12 runs in 12 games this season. "We've been exceptional defensively," said Sarasota coach Clyde Metcalf. "Tonight Matt put down a beautiful bunt and we were able to produce some runs late."



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