Charlotte's new pitcher baffles Palmetto bats in Sarasota Baseball Classic

Special to the HeraldMarch 27, 2014 

SARASOTA -- Matt Ranson made his varsity pitching debut Wednesday night for Punta Gorda Charlotte, and he did not disappoint.

Ranson finished with five innings pitched, no hits, three walks and three strike outs in a 3-1 win over Palmetto in the Red Bracket of the Sarasota Baseball Classic.

"My legs were a little shaky. I was definitely nervous, but I settled down and did my best," Ranson said.

Palmetto (9-8) had a hard time producing runs, but that's not something new to coach Phil Olson.

"We can't hit; we aren't an offensive team," Olson said. "We need to have great pitching and great defense to win."

When the Tigers did put a bat on the ball, the Tarpons made great plays.

"It wasn't just me out here; the guys behind me did a fantastic job," Ranson said.

Blas Rodriguez scored Palmetto's only run on a Tarpons overthrow in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Charlotte's Joey Howes went 2-for-4 with one run scored while Colton Dunson finished with one run batted in.

Palmetto, now 1-1 in the tournament, will face Miami Palmetto at 1 p.m. Thursday at Sarasota High and Somerset Academy at 4:30 p.m. at Buck O'Neil Baseball Complex.

"We will regroup and hope that we can get the bats going a little tomorrow," Olson said.

Also in the Red Bracket on Wednesday, Lakewood Ranch fell 8-2 to Somerset to drop to 0-2 in the tournament. On Thursday, the Mustangs will meet Miami Springs at 1 p.m. Riverview High and Cardinal Mooney (0-3 in the tournament) at 4:30 p.m. at Buck O'Neil.

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