SEBASTIAN — Sebastian River’s Gregg Spagnolia hit two home runs and batted in four runs to lead the Sharks to a 6-3 home victory over rival Vero Beach. The win lifts Sebastian to a 5-2 record and knocks Vero Beach down to 5-4.
The game marked the first time Sebastian River Coach Kendrick Willis had coached against Vero Beach since leaving his alma mater for his new head coaching job in the summer. “It feels good when you get the chance to run your own show,” said Willis. “It really is a blessing to get this opportunity. All the kids in this program needed was some tender loving care–they’ve been coming out to compete every day.”
Sharks pitcher Matt Touhey struck out five batters and pitched a complete game, scattering five hits and three runs over seven innings.
“Matt Touhey really battled for us tonight,” Willis said. “We wanted to get him out of the game early, but his pitch count wasn’t that high. We let him go and he closed the door for us.”
Vero Beach pitcher Eric Enrico threw 5 1/3 innings before getting pulled during a five-run sixth inning. He allowed five runs (four earned) and struck out nine as the pitcher of record in the loss. He allowed just three hits (two of them home runs to Spagnolia), walked one batter, and hit two others.
“(Enrico) had us at the beginning of the game, but we kept fighting until we finally ran into (a home run),” said Willis. “If you pitch, play defense, and get timely hitting, you can beat anyone. Greg came through with two timely hits and that was the difference in the ball game.”
Vero Beach catcher Jordyn Cruz paced his team with two home runs and three runs batted in. Shortstop Chris Kazen hit a pair of singles.
“We had a big blast early and we hoped it would hold up for a little while,” Vero Beach coach Jeff Steinman said. “Then we gave up a couple of our own and couldn’t seem to go toe-to-toe with them. We rallied at the end a little bit, but too little too late.”
“It would have been easy for our kids to roll over, but we had some young guys step in there and and give us some life there at the end,” Steinman added. “That was good, and maybe we can build on that momentum going into Friday’s district game against Treasure Coast at home.”