Libby struck out six batters and walked one.
While many of his teammates and opponents huddled in their respective dugouts wrapped in rain gear, jackets and sweaters, Matanzas’ Erik Libby sat comfortably in the Pirates baseball team’s typical short-sleeve uniform.
The temperature barely rose about 60 degrees on the night of Tuesday, March 19, at Flagler Palm Coast High School. A stiff wind ripped and a thick rain blanketed the baseball field.
Libby, a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, felt right at home.
“This is normal weather for me,” he said.
Libby pitched six innings against the Bulldogs. Sixty six off his 95 throws were strikes. He struck out six batters and walked just one, as the Pirates defeated rival FPC 2-1 in their first meeting of the 2019 season.
“He’s been our go-to guy,” Pirates coach James Perry said. “He’s a strike thrower. He did a great job of competing on the mound.”
The Bulldogs scored the first run of the game off an error in the first inning. Matanzas’ Will Towles had a 2 RBI double in the top of the third inning to give the Pirates their first lead of the game.
“Hats off to Matanzas. Their pitcher pitched a hell of a game.”
FPC coach Jordan Butler
“He’s the guy who hits the ball hard up the middle when we need it,” Perry said.
The Bulldogs had a chance to tie — and even win — the game in the bottom of the seventh inning.
A catcher’s interference put FPC’s Chance Barber on-base as the potential game-tying run. On the next at-bat, Alex Machado opted for a bunt. The Pirates’ closing pitcher, Nathan Quinn, fumbled with the ball on the ground. Barber made it to third base, and Machado nearly made it to first — but was thrown out.
With two outs and with Barber still stranded at third, Noah Trawick stepped into the batter’s box. He swung hard, driving the ball high into left field. The ball ran out of gas as it ballooned high into the wind, dropping into the glove of a Pirates outfielder.
“These guys have grown up with each other and have played against each other their whole lives,” Perry said. “It’s always good to get the win.”