GREEN COVE SPRINGS - In a clash of state powers, the unbeaten (7-0) Trinity Christian Conquerors, a 4A region finalist last year, blasted three homers to take out the previously unbeaten (4-1) Clay High Blue Devils 8-3 in a Saturday afternoon clash. Clay is a 5A state semifinalist from last year under coach Josh Persinger.
On Mon., March 11, Clay defeated West Nassau 4-3 off a Zack Morris double that put two Blue Devils across home plate in the third inning. Brandon Adams worked the mound with six strikeouts.
Against Trinity, in a classic matchup of home run power versus small ball and baserunning prowess, the Blue Devils kept clawing back into game contention with Dylan Faulkner starting on the mound and giving up a single in the second inning that scored on a sacrifice fly, but Clay answering with a Nate Lewis single, a Colin Gross sacrifice bunt and a Faulkner a run scoring single to tie the game. Also in the inning, Blake Parker got hit with a pitch and moved on a sacrifice bunt from Nick Barrie before Taylor Parks got picked at third running for Faulkner. Garret Chun hit a fly ball to end the inning.
Trinity got power at the bat with a double from Matt Luxemberg that nearly cleared the centerfield fence and two singles to go up 2-1. Faulkner. Clay catcher Chase Holman combined for a nifty play at the plate to prevent a run on a fielder's choice grounder after one run had scored.
Down 3-1, Clay was scoreless in the third before Trinity homered to chase Faulkner off the mound and bring in Parks. Clay got out of the inning on a heads-up outfield play from Chun in left field who snagged a fly ball on the run then fired a missile back to second base to pick off Trinity's Frett who was on the run with the hit thinking Chun was unable to glove it.
The defensive play ignited the Clay bend and got bats swinging with Gross singled and Faulkner launching a double to put Gross at third. A flyball from Parker scored Gross but left Faulkner at second. Barrie singled to put Faulkner at third and Chun at bat got a passed ball to score Faulkner. Chun and Jeremy Mosley both grounded out to end the inning with Clay down just 4-3.
Trinity again greeted the next inning with Wood homering over Chun in left field to put the Conquerors up 5-3.
Parks was able to fend off two walks and a single before getting a flyball to end the inning.
Chun came out from outfield to pitch in the fifth but Trinity was less than polite with another inning-opening homer; this time from Frett over the left field fence. Chun and first baseman Zack Morris ended the inning with a pickoff at first base and groundout.
Holman came in to pitch in the seventh and got hit for two runs; one a passed ball, the second on a grounder to end the scoring at 8-3.
On Thurs., March 7, Clay beat St. Johns Country Day School 2-0 off a no-hitter effort from Dylan Faulkner and Justin Mosley.
Mosley singled in Nick Barrie with a first inning score, then singled to score Chun in the sixth after Chun doubled off Spartan reliever Connor Moore.
St. Johns fell to 3-2.
On Tues., March 5, Clay blasted 6A rival Baker County for 11 runs in the sixth inning to make a 4-3 turn into a 14-4 at Clay High School. The Blue Devils benefited from a handful of walks and field errors, plus singles from Nick Barrie and Tony Salazar for the 11-run barrage.
Clay 13, Keystone Heights 3
A homer by Keystone Heights High's Garfield Johns was not enough to stifle the Clay High Blue Devil offense that scored a 13-3 win over the Indians on Tues., Feb. 26.
Clay got eight runs in the third inning off a Justin Mosley triple and walks to Chase Holman, Nick Barrie and sacrifice flies from Nate Lewis and Caleb Parks.
Holman hit a homer in the first inning.
Mosley also won on the mound for Clay with eights strikeouts.
On Thurs., Feb. 21, Clay won 9-1 over First Coast with Logan Wilson on the mound with six strikeouts.
Mon., March 11 vs. Yulee 6:30pm
Wed., March 13 vs. Oakleaf at Jax Baseball 7pm
Fri., March 15 at Fleming Island 7pm
Thurs., March 21 vs. Bartram Trail 6pm
Fri., March 22 at Bishop Kenny 7pm