Panthers drop two to Sharks

Clay vs. Ridgeview April 17-18

By Ray DiMonda Correspondent
Posted 4/17/19

ORANGE PARK - Ponte Vedra High exacted two district losses to the Ridgeview High baseball team; 4-1 and 1-0, with Panther coach John Sgromolo put a positive spin on the second game.

“I was just …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for subscribing.

Single day pass

You also have the option of purchasing 24 hours of access, for $1.00. Click here to purchase a single day pass.

Panthers drop two to Sharks

Clay vs. Ridgeview April 17-18

Posted

ORANGE PARK - Ponte Vedra High exacted two district losses to the Ridgeview High baseball team; 4-1 and 1-0, with Panther coach John Sgromolo put a positive spin on the second game.

“I was just telling the team the baseball Gods have a way of evening things out” said Sgromolo. “Evan’s (Wickeri) been like that all season. Tonight, he had the eye of the tiger, he put the team on his back.”

Despite the Panthers throwing a two-hitter, picking off runners three times, and Pitcher Evan Wickeri going all seven innings in a defensive clinic put on by Ridgeview, the team succumbed to a Ponte Vedra single run in the second inning scored off an error.

That one mistake would be enough to carry the Sharks to a 1-0 defeat of the Panthers.

“Tonight, the dice didn’t come up our way,” said Sgromolo. The win tightened the Shark’s bite of first place in District 4-6A over Clay and Ridgeview who now sit in second and third place.

The Ponte Vedra losses sets up a gauntlet of sorts for the Clay High baseball team that has put out blowout wins over Menendez; 9-0 (Justin Mosley 13Ks) and 11-0 (Dylan Faulker 11Ks, Nick Barrie, Justin Mosley RBI triples), also a district 4-6A team with Ridgeview set for April 17 and April 18 followed by two dates with Ponte Vedra the following week (April 23-24) to set up the final surge into the district tournament.

In the Ridgeview and Ponte Vedra clash, the defensive action started quickly as the Sharks had two runners on in their first at-bat. The effort was quashed by the Panther defense and it was on to offense. After three up, three outs, the Panthers needed a spark to get the bats awakened.

“We don’t have a power hitting team and everyone knows this,” said Sgromolo. “We have a bunch of young guys and we’re a small ball kind of team. As the game went on, our guys did a great job of getting in on the plate, shortening up on the bat, and trying to drive the baseball through the middle of the field.”

But the needed spark came from the wrong direction as the Sharks went on attack again. The first batter up to the plate got on as Wickeri made one of his few miscues on the evening, hitting the batter with a two balls, one strike count. The next batter grounded out to Wickeri who made the play to first, advancing the other runner to second. The next batter singled on a ball to right field that fell in the gap, putting runners on first and third and only one out. As the Sharks runner on first took a huge lead, Wickeri tried to pick off the runner on first who advanced toward second as the other runner attacked home plate. In the cross yelling for the two plays, first baseman Richard Long overthrew the second baseman by over an arm’s length. The ball was quickly recovered by the outfield, but the overthrow allowed the runner on third to cross the plate, costing the only scored run on the entire evening. To add insult to injury, the batter struck out for the second out. With the next at bat, Wickeri picked off the runner at second base to close the inning.

“I’m preaching to them; Baseball is a game of failure,” said Sgromolo. “If you get it right three out of 10 times, you’re a hero. Come the end of the season we’re going to be battle tested and we’re going to be ready.”

Things looked like they were about to turn to the good in the bottom of the fourth when a walk put Wickeri on base, Richard long took advantage of a Ponta Vedra error to get on, and Max Williams singled to left field to load the bases with two outs. Just when it was time for the baseball Gods to smile on the Panthers with the bases loaded and two outs, the next batter grounded out to derail the Panther momentum train and kill the inning. It was that kind of night for the Panther bats.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment