Eagles quick start drops Panthers

By Ray DiMonda Correspondent
Posted 3/23/22

JACKSONVILLE - A Justin Corfield triple in the second inning sparked a 6-0 Fleming Island High lead against Ridgeview at the Jacksonville Baseball Grounds on Thurs., March 17 en route to a 7-3 win …

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Eagles quick start drops Panthers


JACKSONVILLE - A Justin Corfield triple in the second inning sparked a 6-0 Fleming Island High lead against Ridgeview at the Jacksonville Baseball Grounds on Thurs., March 17 en route to a 7-3 win over Ridgeview High in a near-disastrous week of rain delays that stopped in time to let the game be played. Clay was set to play Oakleaf on Tuesday, but that game was rained out.
Fleming Island didn’t take long to acclimate to the big-league stadium as the Golden Eagles took full advantage of a two-out rally and piled on four runs in the top of the second kicked off by a Justin Corfield triple that brought Anders Chadwell and Cayden Robinson across the plate.
“We focused and emphasized on hitting. It was nice to get 11 hits across,” said Fleming Island Head Coach Grant Bigilin. “In a stadium like this, it’s kind of a final four feel that you can’t duplicate at Fleming Island High School. You have to get into the game.”
Fleming Island continued the scoring with another two runs in the top of the third, getting ahead 6-0 before the Panthers finally woke the bats up in the bottom of the third, getting a little positivity rolling when Xavier Harris was driven home on a Jacob Rowe line drive double. The Panthers added two more runs to close the gap to 6-3. In the end, the defense that Fleming Island brought was too much as the Panthers got skunked in the final innings with the Golden Eagles adding one more to close it out 7-3 in six, time restricted innings.
After the second inning two-run triple, Gavin Billingsley pinged a two-RBI single to left field that scored Corfield and Abram Summers, putting Fleming Island out front 4-0 to close the inning. Ridgeview came right back and with only one out, had two on, but suffered a Divine Valle strikeout and a line out to again walk away empty. Before retiring, Valle would strikeout two, walked only one, and gave up three runs off three hits as he was credited with the win.
In the top of the third, Fleming Island still had a case of the hot bats. With one out, Caiden Kowal on third and Shea Thistleton at second, Anders Chadwell doubled to center field scoring Kowal. Rounding third, Thistleton had a case of the early season miscommunications and thought he was told to hold when the call was for Mercer. Thistleton continued to home and was thrown out at the plate for out two, 5-0.
“We had a base running mishap,” said Thistleton. “I’m talking to the guy behind him, so there was an extra run.”
Justin Corfield finished the scoring with a left field grounder that scored Mercer, 6-0.
In the fourth, the Panthers got things rolling with the Rowe-Harris run, followed up by an Alfredo Jimenez right field ground single that scored Bill Girgis. As Girgis crossed the plate, Jimenez went for second and was thrown out for the second out. The play at second opened the door for Jacob Rowe to make it around for the 6-3 end of inning score.
The game continued scoreless through the next two innings until Fleming Island came up for the top of the sixth. Abram Summers led off with a right field ground single and was met on base when Gavin Billingsley walked. Shea Thistleton loaded the bases when the Panthers were called for catcher interference. With two outs, Jackson Mercer was hit by a pitch to score the last Fleming Island run, 7-3. The Panthers could do no better than a Cody Holland single before the Golden Eagle defense shut down the effort to close the six-inning contest 7-3.
“This is early in the season and we need to learn to let it go,” said acting Panther Head Coach Leroy Dunn. “We’ll regroup on Monday and talk about a few things we need to do better, and then we need to let it go. They threw two really good arms at us today and kept us off balance.”
Asked what is the next step for the Panthers, Dunn talked about just finding their groove.
“This is a new coaching staff. We still have to grow that unity together. We are all still getting used to each other and how we run things. I think we are doing pretty good because we all have the same mindset.”

Due to back-to-back games all day, all the games were limited to not start another inning if the game was already passed the second hour. The bottom of the sixth inning was already passed the time restriction and was allowed to complete.


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