SEBRING — The Sebring All-Stars started the Dixie Boys State Tournament (age 14) with a bang on Saturday with a 10-0 pasting of West Seminole at Max Long Complex.
Sebring came out swinging the bats and got solid pitching from right-hander Damian Lusby, who tossed five innings of shutout ball.
“Damian was a horse today,” said Sebring Dixie Boys coach Cesar Martinez. “He did exactly what I expected him to do. He came out here and threw a goose egg up on the board. I knew he was getting tired so I brought in Josh Rivera and he kept the goose egg. We were a little nervous in the first two or three innings but settled down and played well.”
Sebring jumped on top in the first inning as Hunter Martinez singled and Justin Bickman launched a home run over the center-field fence.
Dayvon Terry singled, Rivera singled and Lusby walked to load the bases.
Dalton Whitman walked to force in Terry for a 3-0 lead.
In the top of the second inning Sebring had a collision between the pitcher and first baseman. West Seminole’s Tyler Hill popped up down the first-base line. Lusby called it in the air but Terry didn’t hear him and they collided. Lusby held onto the ball for the out.
Sebring had another collision in the top of the third as well. Center fielder Bickman called the ball in the air and the left fielder didn’t hear him and they collided but Bickman managed to hold onto the ball for the out.
Sebring redeemed themselves in the bottom of the third. Terry walked and Rivera hit a ground ball to shortstop that he booted for an error.
Lusby scored a run with a ground out and Whitman followed with a single down the third-base line to plate Rivera for a 5-0 lead.
West Seminole had no answer for the pitching of Lusby, who handcuffed them on a variety of pitches.
Sebring put the game out of reach in the bottom of the fourth.
Martinez hit a looper to left field for a single, stole second, and took third on a balk. Clint Patrick hit a line drive into the left-center field gap driving Martinez home.
Bickman popped out to right field and Patrick advanced to third base. Gabe Gomez flew out to center field to score Patrick for a 7-0 lead.
West Seminole failed to score in the sixth inning and Sebring’s potent offense did some more damage.
Danny Cardoso singled and advanced to second and third base on back-to-back balks.
Alec Makarewicz, West Seminole’s pitcher, was warned about making illegal movements with this being his third one of the game.
Patrick smacked a double to right field to plate Cardoso and Bickman reached on an error.
Gomez had a run-scoring hit and Terry singled to center field to score Bickman.
Sebring was up 10-0 and the game was called because of the 10-run mercy rule.
“If we are going to advance in this tournament we need to play clean,” said coach Martinez. “We tell them to stay within themselves, don’t get caught up in the crowd or the umpires or anything else and just play baseball. If we do that we’ll be fine.”
Sebring defeated Lake Placid by a score of 13-2 on Sunday and plays a winner’s bracket game at 8 p.m. tonight.
Lake Placid played a loser’s bracket game against Hernando on Sunday night. Results were not available at press time.