By Patrick Bernadeau
For Hometown News
ST. LUCIE COUNTY - On senior day for the Treasure Coast baseball team, the fans in attendance were treated to a one-man show. Too bad for the fans rooting for the home team, it wasn't a Titan who was putting on the performance.
Cobra right-hander Tony Kobbe tossed six innings of no-hit baseball while his 2-run, RBI single in the sixth was the difference on the scoreboard, allowing Fort Pierce Central to collect a non-district victory over the Treasure Coast Titans 2-1, in Port St. Lucie Friday.
"We came into the game wanting to win," said Kobbe. "I threw good, we had solid defense, got some hits, and pulled through playing as a team."
Kobbe threw 74 pitches through six frames, 49 of which would go for strikes.
The senior hurler's only speed bump would come in the second inning after starting the inning off by walking Robert Rosado after being ahead in the count 0-2.
The following two batters would reach on errors, one of which on Matt Lewis was a come-backer to the mound. Kobbe initially pivoted to throw toward third but realized he couldn't get the runner. Kobbe turned to second base, then turned to first base but decided to hold onto the ball. Kobbe's indecision and hesitation meant bases loaded and no outs.
"It got my head a little mixed up," said Kobbe of the jam.
Rattled, Kobbe was able to exit the inning with minimal damage. The Titans would come out of the frame with just a run. Rosado came to the plate following a David Martinez double-play ground ball to the shortshop.
The ground ball proved to be a vital weapon for Kobbe in an effort that wasn't overpowering but certainly was dominant. Despite only getting two strikeouts, over the 18 recorded outs, 10 of which came from the ground ball. It was clear the Titan hitters had trouble making solid contact.
"We struggled big time," said Treasure Coast manager Kyle Smith. "Their pitcher hid the ball well and kept us off-balance."
After loading the bases in the second, Treasure Coast did not have a single man reach base for the rest of the game.
Down by a run the top of sixth inning, the Cobras had two in scoring position and one out as Kobbe stepped up the plate.
In a matchup with Titan reliever Kevin Croke, Kobbe singled a fastball up the middle, scoring Vinnie Lucera and Kyle Wheeler and giving the Cobras the lead.
Marcus Sigmon came on for Central to pitch a 1-2-3 seventh inning to complete the no-hit pitching effort.
Alvin Swoope was able to drive a ball off Sigmon to deep left center but the ball lost its juice at the warning track. For the senior Swoope, that was his last regular season swing in front of his home field and he reflected on his years being at Treasure Coast.
"Everybody is going to tell you high school is the best years of your life and throughout those years I've had the best teammates in the world," said Swoope, who will be continuing his baseball career at Santa Fe Community College.
"They taught me everything, been there for me off the field, on the field, and it's definitely a band of brothers."
The win for the Cobras (6-7) is their fourth victory in their last five games and snapped a four-game Treasure Coast (5-8) winning streak.
"These kids have finally settled in," said Central manager David Pierce, who took over as manager at the beginning of the season.
"They are comfortable with the coaching staff, comfortable with each other and they are playing good ball right now."