Blue Devils take miscues to home plate to beat Eagles
By Randy Lefko
GREEN COVE SPRINGS - With a stopping of season play due to the Coronavirus imminent, the Clay High Blue Devils and Fleming Island Golden Eagles baseball teams had just one more bit of motivation to stir up their rivalry game played Friday night at Clay.
"I think it's Clay vs. Fleming Island," said Clay coach Josh Persinger. "Both teams are hot right now and we got some scrappy guys."
Fleming Island has now lost two in a row with Oakleaf (6-2) taking a 1-0 nine-inning game on Tues., March 10 with Knights' pitcher Logan Schmidt icing 10 batters and Eli Maddox plating Dylan Kohn with a fly ball allowing Kohn to tag up after his double.
With both teams throwing firepower from both sides of the pitcher's mound; Fleming Island starter Cody Carwile and reliever Logan Wilson controlling just eight hits between the two teams, it was a single to Clay's Dylan Greene and an error at shortstop by Fleming Island that broke the ice in the fourth and a double from Garrett Chun in the sixth coupled with a wild pitch from reliever Isaac Williams that were the two runs for the night.
"I know Garrett Chun wanted to leave his mark regardless," said Persinger. "He wasn't leaving there without a victory over the Island."
Other than that, highlights included a nifty steal catch by Clay catcher Chase Holman to second baseman Blake Parker in the fourth to nail Drew Homitz and a full-speed chase in right field by outfielder Tyler Mills on a Tyler Cross long fly ball in foul territory that sparked energetic play by Clay.
For Fleming Island, catcher Jack Gidcumb deflected a potential suicide squeeze attempt by Greene in the sixth inning. Gidcumb also hit a double.
As for the season shutdown for the virus, Persinger hoped for a positive result to end the season.
"No clue, we are just hoping," said Persinger. "Coach Christina Thompson (Oakleaf softball) has started the hashtag (#presspausesowecanplay) in hopes that when school starts up, they let us finish."
Oakleaf falls to Episcopal
Oakleaf High punched out their 1-0 win over Fleming Island with tough pitching, but fell prey to five runs in the second inning in their 6-4 loss to Episcopal High. Episcopal improved to 7-1 overall while Oakleaf fell to 6-2.
Oakleaf pitcher Davion Hickson had a handful against the hard-hitting Episcopal batting lineup with a single and three walks putting the first of five runs on the scoreboard. Hickson was hit with three more walks to push the score to 5-0.
Oakleaf tried to respond with a Dannon Smith double and an RBI single from Andrew D'Addario getting one run.
With Schmidt on the mound snaring two strikeouts, the Knights returned to form for two innings before an error in the fifth scored an Episcopal run.
In the sixth, singles from Dalton Holland, Jayden Rivera and Schmidt got a run with Rivera scoring on an error off a steal attempt.
Singles by Paddy Smith and Dannon Smith in the seventh and a fly by Holland got the Knights to 6-4 with a shot at a win, but Luis Torres struckout to end the game.
Indians get two shutouts
By Randy Lefko
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS - Keystone Heights baseball responded to a tough 4-1 loss to Buchholz on Tues., March 10 with a runs barrage and two wins; 18-0 over Bradford on Wed., March 11 and 7-0 over Middleburg on Fri., March 13.
The Indians, 6-2 overall, gave up three runs in the first inning against 6A-Buchholz (6-2) and could not respond with two errors critical to the loss. Jacob Polk opened on the mound for Keystone Heights and got barraged with three singles in a row after walking a batter and hitting a batter.
Against Bradford, the Indians got a no-hit pitching performance from Morelan Mike on top of an 11 run fifth inning off 15 hits; one a grand slam homer from Garfield Johns, for the team. The Indians had nine hits in the explosive fifth inning. Keystone Heights opened with three runs in the first inning.
Mike finished the game with four strikouts and just one walk.
Against Middleburg, the Indians exploded against with six runs in the first inning to thwart the Broncos. Broncos pitcher Tripp Rawlins opened with two walks to set the Indians for an early hot inning with Will Yeldell and Cole Mattox cashing in for a 3-0 lead. One more walk and a single from Bryson Wise got to 4-0 with Rawlins being chased from the mound for White. An error and a grounder scored the game 6-0.