It was an exciting end of the week for the Marco Island Academy baseball team as they achieved walk-off wins on Thursday and Friday against Dunbar and Community Christian at their home field at Tommie Barfield Elementary.
The Rays edged Dunbar 6-5 on Thursday and escaped Community Christian 9-8 on Friday.
On Thursday, the Rays watched a 5-1 sixth inning lead disappear in the top of the seventh inning against Dunbar before first baseman Johnny Watt drew a bases-loaded walk to score the winning run in the bottom of the seventh.
On Friday, the Rays squandered an 8-4 lead in the top of the seventh inning before earning another walk-off win in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The wins improve the Rays’ record to 5-4 and gives the team a crack at their first winning season in school history.
The Rays have struggled on the baseball diamond, with a staggering 23-115 record since 2013. This year’s team has shown steady improvement and have their sights set on a winning season.
“We’re a work in progress,” said Saul Sotolongo, the Rays’ manager. “We were down 2-0 against Dunbar. We’ve been there before. That’s the good thing about these guys, they usually bounce back. They don’t let it take the wind out of their sails. They step up and come back. If we have to, we claw our way back. They’re getting lots of game experience. Great for building for the future. But the priority is winning right now.”
Against Dunbar, Tyler Chute pitched five innings, giving up just one run and striking out four. Dunbar countered with AJ Grandstaff, who struck out nine Rays and gave up four runs in four and two thirds’ innings.
Shamus Coyle relieved Chute, and after, came through in the end to earn the win.
Ryan Sweeney led the Rays with three hits against Dunbar, and Tyler Chute helped his cause with two base hits.
Against Community Christian the Rays jumped to a 5-0 lead after two innings, but the Mustangs chipped away at the lead, tying things up twice, in the top of the fifth and the top of the seventh. Both times the Rays answered back immediately.
The Rays scored three times in the bottom of the fifth to take an 8-5 lead, then answered the Mustangs’ three run seventh inning with a walk-off run in the bottom of the seventh.
Junior Lucas Hodgdon gave up five runs in four innings and Colby Chute earned the win after giving up three runs in two innings of relief.
Shamus Coyle had two hits and three RBIs for the Rays. Ryan Sweeney added two hits.
“We’re building that toughness,” Sotolongo said, “you’ve gotta be able to hang in there. You can’t get down on yourself. You have to keep fighting all the way.”