The Bulldogs overcame a four-run deficit, sparked by Jordan Taylor’s two RBIs.
The Flagler Palm Coast Bulldogs defeated Matanzas, 6-5, Wednesday, Feb. 23, in a showdown of the two area baseball teams.
The Matanzas Pirates took a four-run lead in the top of the third inning Wednesday night, but the Bulldogs came roaring back, scoring runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to overcome the deficit and clip the Pirates, 6-5, on a chilly night at Bulldog Field.
Pirates’ pitcher Kevin Moore and Bulldogs pitcher Travis Cochran were locked into a pitchers’ duel through the first two innings, but the Pirates bats came alive in the top of the third. Five straight Pirates batters reached base and the Pirates plated four runs. Three of those runs came behind a bases-loaded double by Paul Ricci.
In the bottom half, FPC had back-to-back-back doubles and drop in three runs, making it 4-3.
Matanzas tacked on another run in the top of the fourth, but Jordan Taylor’s moon-shot double brought in two runs in the bottom of the fourth, tying the game at five.
FPC managed to eke out one more run in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Matanzas’ Ricci and Jon Lambright combined for five RBI’s. FPC’s Jordan Taylor went 2-for-4 from the plate with two RBIs and two doubles.
Moore and Cochran both got no-decisions. Moore went 3 1/3 innings with one strikeout and one walk. Cochran also went 3 1/3 innings with two strikeouts and three walks.
After the game, Pirates coach Don Apperson said though he wanted to beat FPC, the real games begin with district play.
“I believe we are ready to emerge as district contenders,” Apperson said after the game. “A lot of teams will look past us and will be surprised at what we bring each and every night.”
Apperson said his pitching staff “came of age” against the Bulldogs. Apperson added that his team produced quality at-bats, but needs to improve its base-running skills.
In particular in the game against FPC, the Pirates were picked off first base and also thrown on trying to tag up on a fly ball for leaving second base early.
“We need to get smarter in that area,” Apperson said. “We have been picked off or thrown out at bases because of ill-timed base running mistakes.”
FPC coach Steve Poppe said his team played hard and never gave up.
“Our kids did an excellent job of keeping their composure when put up against the wall,” Poppe said. “Overall, the game was intense and players on both teams played hard.”
For in-depth coverage of the Pirates and Bulldogs, read the season preview stories that were featured in the Feb. 24 edition of the Palm Coast Observer.