Toelken HR, 3B powers Clay over Fleming Island
JACKSONVILLE-Clay High got a solo homer by Andy Toelken in the bottom of the fourth inning to ignite the Blue Devils to a 7-3 non-district win over Fleming Island at the Jacksonville Baseball Grounds Friday night.
Toelken, who hit a gamewinning walkoff homer last year during the Blue Devils Final Four playoff run, smashed his shot to right centerfield after a flyout by Wes Weeks to put the score at 5-2.
After falling behind 1-0 in the first inning, Clay’s bats and strong pitching by ace Dane Dunning powered the Blue Devils to a first loss to the Golden Eagles who fell to 4-1 for the season.
In the bottom of the first, Fleming Island starting pitcher Rhett Aplin loaded the bases behind a single to Toelken and walks to Luke Suchon and Austin Wilson before a walk to Hunter Alexander gave Clay a 2-1 lead. Dunning would hit a hard single for a run batted in to push the scored to 3-1 before two groundouts stopped the bleeding.
In the top of the second, Suchon would rob Fleming Island’s Jason Nebrat of a hit down the first base line before Zach Marshall sailed one into centerfield to put Fleming Island on the bases. Dunning, clocked at near 90 miles per hour by scouts behind home plate, calmly nailed Peyton Williams on strikes before a groundout ended the inning.
In the bottom of the second, Weeks would score after singling before Toelken nailed an RBI triple to right field for a 4-1 Clay lead.
In the third, Fleming Island would score one more when Reece Cooley got to first off an error to Alexander at third.
The score stayed at 4-2 through the fifth before Toelken’s homer, but Clay added two more off Fleming Island pitcher Bryce Baker after a sacrifice bunt from J.T. Turner scored a run off singles from Tyler Morris and Quentin Esquival. Weeks would walk before Suchon was hit by a pitch with bases loaded scoring the seventh run for the Blue Devils.
Three errors by Clay in the sixth gave Fleming Island their third run.
See page 35 for upcoming games.
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Clay High batter Andy Toelken smashed a homer and a triple in a good day at the Grounds.
Above: Clay High senior pitcher Dane Dunning throws fastball clocked at near 90 miles per hour. Right: Fleming Island pitcher Bryce Baker bears down on Clay batter.
Left: Clay High baserunner Wes Weeks rounds third and lets crowd know he will make it to home plate easily. Right: Fleming Island right fielder Zach Sherman makes grab of outfield hit in sixth inning.
Clay High assistant coach John Sgromolo was in familiar place in first base coach’s box at Jacksonville Baseball Grounds despite Fleming Island fans behind him. As a teen, Sgromolo was a Suns’ ballboy and after graduating Clay and playing at Flagler College, Sgromolo played games for Flagler at the Baseball Grounds.