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Venice Rolls Over North Port In 7A-11 Championship

The Venice Indians hosted the North Port Bobcats in the 7A-11 championship Thursday night. Led by Joe Kinker and his two RBIs, the Indians built a lead early and never looked back as they rolled to an 8-2 victory over the Bobcats and clinched a district championship.

“District championships are very special to us,” said Indians manager Craig Faulkner. “They take a lot of hard work and a lot of good players to win. We will take tonight to enjoy this championship and we will get back to work tomorrow.”

The Indians (22-5) entered the championship game as the #2 ranked team in the last SWF Ranking of the regular season, and they came out playing like one of the best teams. Tyler Gardner scored first for the Indians on a sacrifice fly from Scott Dubrule. Jake Grubbs drove in the second run of the inning on a single to left field that scored Brent Killam from second.

It didn’t take long for the Bobcats (12-15) to erase the two-run deficit. In the top of the second, Patrick Smith came to the plate with Justin Hartshorne on and he sent a 2-1 pitch over the right field fence to tie the game.

The home run was the only blemish on Indians’ starter Trevor Halloway’s night. He went four innings, giving up two runs on three hits and no walks, while striking out four.

The Indians wasted no time in taking back the lead. In the bottom of the second, an RBI single from Killam scored Kyle Bachle for the go-ahead run. Joe Kinker added to the lead with his first double of the night in the fourth inning that scored Bachle for his second run of the game. After a bases-loaded walk to Halloway scored Jared Bailey, Kinker came to the plate and hit his second double of the night to bring home Shane Shifflett and Mitch Donofrio. Halloway capped the scoring with a run later in the inning to cap the scoring.

Killam came in and pitched the final three innings, allowing no runs and striking out two to pick up the save and secure the district-championship win.

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