News-Sun photo by DAN HOEHNE Brad Doty coasts into the gap to snare this fly Monday night at Firemen's Field.
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published: Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Blue Streaks stung
by Yellow Jackets
By DAN HOEHNE
SEBRING - It had the feel of that last big dress rehearsal before the opening of a Broadway show - trying hard for a great performance, but not overextending or taking too many risks.
Which is sort of what you would expect in a non-district game between two teams with big district contests the next night as visiting Bartow topped the Blue Streaks 4-1 Monday night.
"You want to win, but not cost yourself anything for the district game," Sebring head coach Buck Rapp said.
The Yellow Jackets, 3-4 in District 7-7A play, are in a three-way tie for third with Lake Region and Lakeland, behind front-runners Haines City and George Jenkins and next faces Lake Region.
The Streaks, 3-1 in District 9-6A, have locked up second place but still have a shot at a share of first with Winter Haven.
They played the Blue Devils at home Tuesday night.
Things started a little rocky for Sebring starter Keat Waldron Monday, as early lack of command allowed lead-off man Timmy Delph to reach on a walk.
One out and a stolen base later, Riley Troutt sent a single to right to plate the first run of the game.
But Waldron settled in and despite an error allowing another runner to reach, ended the inning soon after.
The Blue Streak batters wasted little time in answering back as Brad Doty himself drew a walk to lead things off.
Wyatt Johnson stayed patient as well of Bartow starter Daniel Till, and drew a base on balls as well.
Cullen Lovett then jumped on a fastball and sent a liner to center to score Doty with the tying run, but three straight fly ball outs would keep it at 1-1 after one.
The Jackets added two more in the second when, with one out, Matt Martin singled to right, moved to second when Hunter Harrison was hit by a pitch, and then to third on a Delph single to left.
Waldron then got a grounder to short for a potential inning-ending double play, but the relay to first wasn't quite in time, allowing Martin to score the go-ahead run.
Then, with a stolen base attempt, the throw got away and Bartow's third run of the night came in for a 3-1 lead.
Sebring would have a batter reach base in each of the next three innings, but couldn't bring any of them around as the Jackets brought in a new reliever every two innings in order to save arms.
"He's doing a 2, 2, 2 and 1," Rapp explained of the innings for each pitcher format being utilized. "A game like this, you don't want to work anyone too long and lose them for a district game."
The Jackets added their final run in the third, with singles by Joey Starling and Jared Schley being followed by a base knock from Gavin Murphy.
Murphy, apparently expecting Starling and Schley to take an extra base, soon found himself caught between first and second.
But while he was tagged out in the ensuing, short rundown, Starling was able to find the moment to break for the plate and slide in safely.
Waldron had reached his pitch count by the end of the third and southpaw Joey Staffieri came on and worked a scoreless fourth and fifth, but ran into a little trouble in the sixth with a walk and an error putting two on with nobody out.
Left-hander Garrett Martinez came on in relief and, despite allowing a bloop single to Caleb Williams to load the bases, got out of the jam with a strikeout and fly to center.
Sebring's best chance to get back into it came in the bottom of the sixth, when Garrett DeRoss lead off with a single to right.
Jimmy Peck followed with a deep fly ball, but hit it to the deepest part of the yard, for a long out to center.
Ty Little followed with a walk, and on a wild pitch, the Streaks had runners on second and third with the one out.
But reliever Williams, much like Martinez in the top half of the inning, struck out the next batter and got a fly ball to retire the side.
And that was, essentially, the last hurrah, as a one-two-three seventh ended it with the 4-1 Bartow win.
But there were no injuries, the arms are fresh and the team was ready to open the show Tuesday night against Winter Haven.
See Friday's News-Sun for a recap of the big district contest.
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