South Lake battered two South Sumter pitchers for 15 hits and 19 runs, including 17 in the third inning, in a 19-0 win against the Raiders at Eagles Field. The game was stopped after three innings.
GROVELAND — Eric Leitner thought out loud if he had spent too much time in the preseason worrying about offense and not enough on defense.
If that were the case, it certainly seemed to pay off on Tuesday night for Leitner and the South Lake High School baseball team.
The Eagles battered two South Sumter pitchers for 15 hits and 19 runs, including 17 in the third inning, in a 19-0 win at Eagles Field. The game was stopped after three innings.
“We worked on a lot on our hitting before the season started and we’ve struggled a bit in the field,” said Leitner, the South Lake coach. “And I think that might’ve been an issue in a couple of games this season. We made 12 errors in our first five games this season; obviously, you’re not going to win many big games when you do that.
“We’ve started spending a little more time on our defensive work, so I’m sure we’ll show some improvement as the season goes along.”
South Lake did not make an error on Tuesday, but it was starting pitcher Cal Pundsack and the Eagles’ offense that made difference against the Raiders. Pundsack allowed only one hit, while striking out three, and allowed only two balls out of the infield.
The senior southpaw improved to 3-0 on the season. He has allowed only four hits in 13 innings, while striking out 17, and has yet to allow an earned run.
With Pundsack dominating on the mound, the Eagles staked him to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but left the bases loaded in the second.
They more than made up for it in the third.
South Lake batted around twice against South Sumter starting pitcher Evan Paxton and reliever Zach Varnum, sending 22 hitters to the plate in the inning. Beginning with the second trip through the order, Leitner inserted five pinch hitters, meaning 14 different players stepped to the plate in the frame.
The Eagles, which entered the game with a .339 team batting average, sent 15 hitters and scored 15 runs before the first out of the inning was recorded.
Travis Stapleton, the Eagles’ leading hitter with a .647 batting average, had three hits, with two runs scored and two RBIs. Ryan Monaghan led the way with four RBIs, including three on bases-clearing triple.
For South Sumter, which dropped to 2-4 on the season, Dylan Morrison had the lone hit, a two-out single to right. Paxton absorbed the loss, allowing 13 runs on 12 hits in two-plus innings.
With the win, South Lake improved to 4-2 on the season.
The Tavares girls team picked up three wins in singles play and one in doubles on Tuesday to lift the Bulldogs to a 4-3 win against First Academy of Leesburg at the Dixie Avenue courts in Leesburg.
Tavares improved to 6-0 on the season.
Noelia Rodriguez, Tita Medina and Lina Filkin were winners in singles for Tavares. Rodriguez and Medina then teamed up for an 8-4 win in doubles.
First Academy’s winners including Emily Han and Emma Rome in singles play, with Han and Rome pairing up for an 8-1 win in doubles.
Following boys and girls matches on Wednesday at South Lake, the Bulldogs will travel to the Lincoln Avenue courts in Mount Dora to face the Hurricanes.
Two local girls basketball standouts announced recently for whom they will compete at the next level.
Leesburg senior Carsen Bridges committed to play at Chaminade University in Honolulu and Wildwood’s Alyana Mauger said she will play at St. Petersburg College.
Bridges, a 5-foot-9 guard/forward, averaged 20.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game for the Yellow Jackets in 2019-20. She also led Leesburg with 3.3 assists and 4.5 steals per game.
Chaminade is an NCAA Division II program. The Silverswords earning national recognition on Dec. 23, 1982, when the men’s basketball team upset the University of Virginia, which was led by three-time national player of the year Ralph Sampson in what many considered the biggest upset in college basketball history.
Chaminade, which finished the regular season with a 4-24 record, first fielded a women’s basketball team for the 2006-07 season.
Mauger was the lone senior for the Wildcats this season, which finished 25-3. A 5-foot-8 guard/forward, Mauger was Wildwood’s second-leading scorer (12.8 points per game) and was third in rebounds (4.8).
St. Petersburg sported an 18-12 regular-season record this season. Among those on this year’s roster is Jaeda Logan, a freshman point guard from East Ridge.