In Saturday's action, the Manatees and Lightning faced off in a battle for second place. The Manatees (7-5) have fallen back from the league leading Marauders and now find themselves within striking distance from other teams in the league for the first time. A loss to the Lightning would give the Manatee's their lowest position in the standings this summer. On the other hand, the Lightning (6-6-1) have been surging as of late.
Manatees starting pitcher, Mike Roberts, sent a message early to the visiting Lightning by striking out the side in order. Mack Meyer started for the Lightning and also pitched very well. However, the Manatees got to Meyer in the first inning to give themselves the early lead. Mike Roberts and Marty Greinke started the bottom half of the first inning with consecutive singles. A double steal put both runners in scoring position. Carlos Somoza recorded a RBI with a ground out and Mike Webb continued the Manatees hot start with a RBI single to make the score 2-0.
The Lightning proved to be resilient in the bottom of the second. Chris Delorenz started the rally with a walk. Christian Hvide followed with a double. The table was then set for Alejo Lopez who hit a single that scored both runners. With the score tied at 2, both pitchers looked to quiet the other teams offense.
Mack Meyer settled in and so did Mike Roberts, starting in the bottom of the second, the score remained tied until the bottom of the fifth inning. Meyer had a streak of retiring 10 batters consecutively during the three inning span and Roberts was equally impressive. Roberts struck out 7 in four innings before he was replaced by Sam Shields.
The tie was finally broken in the bottom of the fifth as Carlos Somoza walked andMike Webb advanced the pinch runner to third. Jack Hurdle followed with a sacrifice fly to give the Manatees a 3-2 lead.
Dominant pitching prevailed in the later innings as Sam Shields and Mack Meyer traded quick innings in the field.Mike Roberts also provided help in the field to preserve the Manatees lead. In the top of the seventh he stopped a leadoff shot down the right-field line that looked to be extra bases.
After a leadoff walk, Stephen Singer came in to stop the bleeding. The first batter he faced hit into a double play and he recorded the last out to successfully inherit the runner.
The Manatees had been shutting down the Lightning offense, but they knew that an insurance run would be extremelyimportant. So in the bottom of the eighth with runners on first and third, the Manatees ran a steal play to buy time for the runner on third to score. The play was a success and the Manatees scored another coveted run to make the score 4-2 headed into the ninth.
In the ninth, Jordan Mandel came in with runners on first and second and no one out. The Lightning did scratch one run across on a sacrifice fly by Jake Holt but Jordan Mandel limited the damage and picked up his second save of the season.
The Manatees walked away with a 4-3 win over the Lightning. With the win, the Manatees remain in second place with a record of 8-5.
In other action around the league:
Lightning 3 4 0
Manatees 4 6 0
WP- Sam Shields 3IP, 0H, 0ER, 3Ks
Top Performer- Mike Webb- 2 for 3, RBI
Hurricanes 7 10 0
Conquistadors 3 5 0
WP-Sawyer Wilson- 6IP, 4H, 0ER, 8Ks
Top Performer- Dakota Mills 1 for 1, RBI, 2SB
Conquistadors 12 13 0
Hurricanes 5 10 0
WP- Austin Platt- 4 2/3 IP, 2H, ER, 3Ks
Top Performer- Manny Ramirez- 3 for 3 R, 2B 3 RBI, HPB
Sea Dogs 4 7 0
Marauders 10 8 3
WP- Philip Dilandro- 3IP, 2H, 3Ks
Top Performer- Alan Nahigian 2 for 4, R, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI's
League Standings: (through July 17th)
TEAM W L T GB
Marauders 12 2 0 0
Manatees 8 5 0 3.5
Lightning 6 7 1 5.5
Conquistadors 6 9 0 7.5
Seadogs 4 8 1 8
Hurricanes 5 10 0 8.5