JACKSONVILLE – The St. Johns Country Day School baseball squad put down a week worth of wins last week with district wins over St. Joseph’s and University Christian and a highlight win over Westside High at the Jax Baseball Grounds; home of the Jacksonville Suns. University Christian is the Class 3A runnerup after beating St. Johns in the district 2-3A championship last year. The Spartans improve to 7-2 overall and appear on track for one of the best season’s in Spartan history.
“I don’t think we are in a position to surprise people any more,” said Spartan head coach Tom Lucas. “I get a lot of talk from coaches around the area that they know the kind of ball we play. That’s a good thing though.”
The biggest win of the week, a 4-2 win over district champion and 3A runnerups University Christian, the Spartans benefited from a three run homer from Cody Myers to pull the game out. University Christian falls to 8-4, 3-1 in district 2-3A play with St. Johns now 4-0 and on top of the district. St. Joseph’s is a game out at 3-2 in district play.
“You know, we watched them play into the state finals last year and I know the kids thought they should be there,” said Lucas, referring to last year’s district championship that saw the Spartans leading, then a weather delay forcing the game contining the next day and the Spartans losing. “We talk about being ahead of them and then playing even with a lot of good teams; win or lose. They are starting to believe they deserve to be in the conversation.”
In the third against University, tied 1-1, Myers followed up a double to Hunter Russell and a single to Tyler Kuramoto that scored Russell to score the game 2-1, with a smash over the left field fence to score the game 4-1.
In the sixth, University made an effort to close the game with a double and single to centerfield scoring one more, but Britts got one fly out and relief pitcher Jack Hodges got the third out on a fly ball.
Against Westside, at the Jacksonville Baseball Grounds, Kuramoto delivered a two run single in the third to score the game 2-0 for the Spartans. Kuramoto later scored off a double from Cody Myers for a 3-0 lead.
Westside had a scoring opportunity squashed with a well-played baserunner rundown between second and third base that saw the
Spartans effectively switch out four defensive players before the tagout.
“We play smart, we win,” said Lucas. “We try to take advantage of opportunities at any stage.”
Finn Howell started on the mound for St. Johns with Hunter Russell finishing.
In the sixth, St. Johns scored off walks to Russell and Kuramoto with Russell stealing home on a double steal attempt.
“We always want to extend another 90 feet when we can,” said Lucas.
Lucas follows up this strong trio of games with a slate including the Atlantic Coast Spring Break Baseball tournament with games against Fleming Island (7 p.m. Monday), Bishop Kenny (7 p.m. Tuesday) with a championship game on Wednesday. St. Johns then plays at Clay on Thursday.