SEBRING — Abe Cervera belted a two-run homer to pace Elite Plumbing to a 6-5 win over Rotary in Dixie Ozone (ages 10-12) Baseball on Monday night at Max Long Complex.
The win was the second in a row for Elite Plumbing and improved its record to 2-4 on the season.
“We had a good one tonight,” said Elite Plumbing coach Kirby Whitehouse. “Abe is the leader of our team and did a good job of keeping his hands back on his homer.”
The loss dropped Rotary to 8-2.
We did a good job of coming back, but too many walks lost the game for us,” said Rotary coach Nate Vanderpool. “We came up a little short but it was good to see the kids not give up.”
Rotary got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning as Blayne Huter walked, stole second base, moved to third on a wild pitch and raced home on an RBI single to left field by Cole Vanderpool for a 1-0 lead.
Elite Plumbing answered in the top of the second inning as Hunter Ritenour, Tyler Simmons and Caleb Lindsey drew two-out walks off Huter.
Kyle Mercer walked to score Ritenour and Sam Lieske followed with a double down the right-field line to plate Simmons and Lindsey. Mercer was tagged out at the plate trying to score on a perfect relay throw but Elite Plumbing led 3-1.
Left-hander R.J. Hykes tossed a scoreless inning before Elite Plumbing’s offense went back to work in the top of the third inning.
Jonathan Delgado lined a leadoff single to left field and Cervera followed with a blast over the center-field fence to give Elite Plumbing a commanding 5-1 lead.
Cervera pitched the third and fourth innings and the hard-throwing left-hander allowed no hits and struck out three batters.
“Abe throws strikes and is hard to hit,” Whitehouse said. “He’s a team motivator.”
Elite Plumbing tacked on an important insurance run in the top of the fifth inning as Lindsey walked, was sacrificed to second base by Mercer, stole third base and scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-1.
Rotary, which has a veteran team, refused to go quietly in its last at-bat.
Kevin Myers walked, stole second base and scored when a ground ball by Huter was thrown away for an error. Hunter Vanderpool singled to third base and both runners scored on a two-out infield error to make it 6-4.
Dillon Hartline came through with an RBI double down the left-field line to pull Rotary within 6-5 with the tying run at second base.
Elite Plumbing’s Delgado, who came on in relief in the fifth inning, made the play of the game by snagging a line drive right back at him for the final out.
“We’ve struggled pitching the last two games and we lost both of them,” said Rotary coach Vanderpool. “I’ve got a veteran team and we have the ability to play better.”
Dixie Ozone action continues through June 1 and the Ozone city tournament is set for June 3-7 at Max Long Complex.