Sharks battle in extra-inning loss at districts

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By Jenna McKenna

"Except for the fact that we lost, I think it was the best game we played all season."

Sharks' baseball head coach Joe Bishop said his team played like there was no tomorrow in their district tournament matchup Monday. Unfortunately, this time there wasn't. Cedar Key lost 7-6 in eight innings to Seven Rivers in the Class A District 6 tournament.

The Sharks got off to a good start, putting up one run in their first at bat to take an early lead. Seven Rivers tied the score with a run in the bottom of the first, though.

"They shut us down in the top of the second, then scored three runs to go up 4-1," Bishop said. "Normally that's when we'd lose, but instead, we kept our heads in the game and got four more runs."

The Sharks led 5-4 after four and a half innings, Bishop continued. Seven Rivers scored one run in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at five, then each side added one more run to tie it at six.

The score was knotted at six as the Sharks and Warriors headed into the eighth inning. Cedar Key batted first.

"We didn't get any runs in our at bat, but Seven Rivers got one run to win the ballgame," Bishop said.

The Sharks hung tough after giving up three runs in the second inning, firing up a comeback that almost brought the win. Senior David Bishop pitched a complete game and was a model of composure and leadership on the mound, Bishop said.

"I think it was the best game he ever pitched. He just kept talking to the guys in the field, trying to inspire them to win."

Coach Bishop thanks his four seniors, David Bishop, Richie Rain, Ian McNulty and Shawna Fenton, for their leadership this year, and looks forward to seeing juniors Evan Lyons, Aaron Esposito and Ryan Alford step up to lead the team next year.

Finally, Bishop says he hopes recently-added first base coach Luis Orama will return next season.

"We seemed to do a lot better with him over by first base," he said.

Batting leaders:

Aaron Esposito: 3 for 5 with a double, one run and two stolen bases

Ian McNulty: 1 hit, 2 walks, 1 RBI

David Bishop: 2 hits, 4 stolen bases, 1 run

Ryan Alford: 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 run

Billy O'Dell: 2 hits, 1 stolen base, 2 runs

Jacob Crosby: 2 hits, 2 RBI

Pitching stats:

David Bishop: Complete game; 10 strikeouts, 9 walks (including IBB)