SEBRING — Sebring Tractor Service clobbered Lake Placid’s Howard Fertilizer in Dixie Boys (ages 13-14) baseball Monday night at the Max Long Sports Complex, pulling away for a 12-2 victory.
“It’s the game of baseball; Hit ball, see ball, catch ball, throw ball,” said Tractor coach Cesar Martinez “It’s pretty simple and at the end of the day we did it.”
But at the outset, it was Howard Fertilizer that had an early lead. With two outs, Jason Andrews singled to left field. Buddy Jolley sent a pitch to left field, but the throw from the cut-off man was wide, allowing Andrews to score put his team up 1-0.
The lead was short-lived, though.
Tractor Service responded in the bottom of the first inning with two runs. Hunter Martinez got things rolling with a single to center field. Martinez promptly stole second and third, and Logan Gregis was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners. Dayvon Terry plated Martinez and Gregis after he scorched a single past third base.
Meanwhile, Tractor Service was keeping Howard Fertilizer off the scoreboard thanks to its impenetrable defense and solid pitching from Damian Lusby.
“Damion has been our horse all year as pitcher,” Martinez said. “He did exactly what I’ve known him to do all year and that is keep us in the ball game.”
Despite tying the game in second inning thanks to an RBI from Hunter Hall, Howard Fertilizer’s defense imploded in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Pitcher Nicki Ruiz walked Mason Huertas and Clayton Osha to open the inning. Kamari Brown was called in to replace Ruiz, but he wound up walking J.D. Spiegel to load the bases. With the stage set for fireworks, Martinez strolled to the plate and blasted his first grand slam of the season to put Tractor Service up 6-2.
“I was thinking about getting on base to keep my batting average up but ended up hitting a grand slam,” Martinez said. “It felt good. I hope to do it again next game.”
The offensive onslaught continued after a flurry of Tractor Service hits stretched its lead to 9-2. Logan Gregis walked, and Dayvon Terry singled to score Gregis. After Terry moved to second, Damion Lusby hit a looper into right field, giving Terry enough time to scamper home. Lusby stole second and was brought home when Eli Fouthree hit a line drive to shortstop, who overthrew his first baseman.
Howard Fertilizer switched pitchers, but it did little to cool Tractor Service’s bats. Carson Angell hit a popfly to right field that was missed, and Jacob Regino walked to load the bases. Dalton Sebring drew a walk to bring in another run and Fouhtree scored on a balk.
Now up 10-2, Martinez was up to bat for the second time in the inning. Martinez delivered again, bringing in Angell with a sacrifice fly. Gregis drew a walk to plate Region and cap the inning. Despite his team triggering the 10-run mercy rule, Martinez said he wasn’t pleased with the number of walks.
“I don’t like walks, I hate walks, can’t stand walks,” he said. “We seem to always have a few of them, they seem to fall in line with errors.”
Tractor Service and Howard Fertilizer wrapped up the season on Tuesday night. Results were not available at press time, but be sure to read Thursday’s Highlands Today for the complete story and photos.