INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – Sebastian River avenged last year’s 2-1 loss to Vero Beach at Bud Holman Stadium when they beat Vero Beach, 3-2, Friday night in their second-annual game at Vero Beach Sports Complex.
Both teams sported Vero Beach Dodger uniforms – Sharks in the away blues, Fighting Indians in home team gray – donated by the organization after their last game at Dodgertown.
The evening started out as a battle between senior left-handed pitchers Matt Touhey of Sebastian River and Will Ore of Vero Beach. Each pitcher started the contest by giving up a run in the first inning, and each pitcher settled down and pitched good games afterward.
Ore allowed three runs on just four hits over 5 1/3 innings in a losing effort, striking out six, walking three, and hitting one batter. Touhey allowed two earned runs and scattered eight hits over five innings for the win. He struck out four and walked three batters. Touhey also picked two runners off first base in the first inning.
“It was another close game with our rival, Vero,” Touhey said. “The first inning was a little shaky, but I worked hard the rest of the game to keep us in it. I got both of our wins against them my senior year – its a good way to go out.”
Touhey and the Sharks beat the Fighting Indians earlier this year in Sebastian, 6-3.
Junior right hander Ronny Herndon pitched two innings of relief for the save, after Touhey loaded the bases in the 6th inning with no outs. One of the runners managed to score on the only hit Herndon allowed, but for the most part, the reliever shut down the Vero Beach bats.
“They couldn’t touch the deuce,” Herndon said of his knuckle-curve. “It feels good to beat Vero. I’m only a junior, and next year we’ll beat them two times again.”
Sebastian River coach Kendrick Willis felt a big part of his team’s success is due to competitiveness of Touhey and Herndon.
“They are two of the most competitive guys I’ve been around,” Willis said. “They don’t let anything phase them, and they go right at opposing batters. Those two trust their defense behind them, and that’s a big reason why we’ve been in every ball game.”
Right fielder Greg Spagnolia collected two of Sebastian River’s four hits, including a 410-foot solo home run in the third inning. It was his third homer against Vero this year.
“He actually hit a home run last (game),” said Willis. “Before that he was in a two-game slump. They hung him a curveball on a 1-2 count and he absolutely crushed it.”
“I always tell the kids, its not about how many hits you get – its about getting timely hits,” Willis added. “The second baseman (Kyle Tournie) tonight made some diving plays, and we got some timely defense.”
Touhey and Ryan Khal collected the other two hits for Sebastian River. Austin Todd scored a run, collected a hit, and drew three walks for Vero Beach. Eric Enrico and Jordyn Cruz knocked in Sebastian’s two runs.