Panthers feel wrath of Blue Devils

By Ray DiMonda Correspondent
Posted 4/6/22

GREEN COVE SPRINGS - After dropping the last four games, with two by a single point, the host Clay Blue Devils were ready to turn-two.

“We were 8-1 and then we dropped our last four,” said …

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Panthers feel wrath of Blue Devils


GREEN COVE SPRINGS - After dropping the last four games, with two by a single point, the host Clay Blue Devils were ready to turn-two.

“We were 8-1 and then we dropped our last four,” said Clay High Head Coach Josh Persinger. “We haven’t done that since 2017 when we were 1-7. We had a little reset on Tuesday. Top down, I put it on us. Practices weren’t as structured. Any chance I get to take the blame, I will. This game is always a big game and tonight the ball went our way a couple of times, like tapping on the glass, tapping on the glass waiting for it to break and we went back to that tonight.”

Over in the other dugout, the Ridgeview Panthers dropped their last two on a season that had it’s more than fair share of ups and downs with a 4-6 record with a team that was also ready to turn things to a positive direction. On this Friday night, it was all Blue Devils from the first inning as the Panthers could not find a single answer to the Blue Devil shock and awe first inning eight run assault. Even after Clay Head Coach Josh Persinger swapped out the bench to get some play time for the rest of his team, the Blue Devils would continue the pounding until the game amassed a 15-0 score to shut down the Panthers in only four innings.

“Overall, I’m going to be honest with you of what I’ve analyzed as we were coming into this game; we are just not respecting baseball,” said Ridgeview Head Coach Saùl Jimènez. “I tell the kids, we talk about energy a lot, what we build up to game time, are you doing the right things in school, and is that and is that transitioning onto the ballfield. I called it on the bus over here today, I could see it. You have to show respect for the game, respect all around. I tell them the energy you build is going to show you results for whatever you put into it.”

The Panther first ups could only get one on with two outs before the third out stalled any momentum building. The Panther defense did no help to their cause when the Panthers walked Dylan Greene in five pitches. Conner Chapman courtesy ran for Greene and was brought home with a Logan Wilson RBI single to center field. Jayden Long went deep left field for what should be an easy Panther out, but the ball was dropped loading the bases. On a 2-1 count, Aiden Hampton was hit by a pitch to bring Max Williams across the plate, 2-0. The inning was capped off with an Alec Burke 2 RBI home run to put Clay out front 8-0 at the end of the first inning. “Early in the season, we were hitting very well, and lately we were not,” said Persinger. “Part of that is we’ve been seeing some D1 arms night after night. Going back to work. We were hitting a couple home runs and that’s all we were hitting. Tonight, we put it all together.”

The second inning, neither team could do any better than a runner on base. The third inning looked like the Panthers finally primed the pump with only one out, and Xavier Harris and Billy Girgis on first and second, then both players stealing to put them into scoring position on second and third base. As the Panther’s luck would have it, a pop fly to Tyler Mills in right field allowed Harris to tag up. The throw to the plate was right on time for out three to stop the Panther charge dead in its tracks.

The Blue Devils used the mojo from the defense and cashed it in with the first at-bat as Tyler Mills went yard so deep into left field that it stopped the softball game as the baseball ended up on the girl’s field, 9-0.

The Blue Devils loaded the bases with Alec Burke pinging a double, followed by walks for Greene and Williams. The score was brought to 10-0 with a walk bringing Burke home. Jayden Long followed with a two RBI line drive to left scoring Greene and Williams. A balk would score Wilson, 13-0 followed by a Josh Isenberg RBI single, 14-0 before the Panthers could finally close the inning. “Tonight, is more like I want to see it happen. We had some home runs, but I like seeing that other stuff too. I want to bunt, I want to squeeze, I want to do it all. It’s no secret.”

Again, the Panthers would get two on with batters hit by pitches and have nothing to show as the inning closed with both runners abandoned on the bases. Only needing one more run to shut things down, the Blue Devils went back to work with players who have not had much playtime. “In games like this, you want to get them in. I started putting those guys in during the second inning. They are great in the dugout, helping out, learning, they practice, so any chance I get to put them in, they are next year’s team, so I get them in.” Ethan Escher was hit by a pitch to get the final run needed on base. Sean Alvers walked putting the second runner on base. Logan Wilson grounded out to first base which allowed Escher to tag up and cross the plate to invoke the 15 run rule ending the contest, 15-0.

County Roundup

Clay: March 25 lost to Bartram Trail 3-2, March 28 lost to University Christian 8-3, RAIN out vs. SJCDS, April 1 beat Ridgeview 15-0

Wed., April 6 vs. Creekside

Tues., April 12 vs. Santa Fe

Thurs., April 14 vs. Fleming Island


Fleming Island (5-8): March 22 beat Bradford 13-0, Lost to Chiles 12-1, April 1 Lost to Nease 6-5, April 4 lost to Oakleaf 10-0

Thurs., April 7 at Middleburg

Fri., April 8 at Tocoi Creek

Tues., April 12 vs Ponte Vedra

Thurs., April 14 at Clay


Middleburg (5-5): March 25 beat Ridgeview 10-4, March 28 lost to Baldwin 8-3, March 29 lost to Oakleaf 5-2

Mon., April 4 vs. Parker

Tues., April 5 at Palatka

Thurs., April 7 vs. Fleming Island

Mon., April 11 vs. University Christian

Thurs., April 14 at Columbia


Oakleaf (11-3): March 29 beat Middleburg 5-2, March 30 beat Union County 9-5, April 1 beat Bishop Snyder 4-0, April 4 beat Fleming Island 10-0

Thurs., April 7 vs. University Christian

Fri., April 8 at Sandalwood

Mon., April 11 vs. Stanton

Wed., April 13 vs. Menendez

Thurs., April 14 at Mandarin


Ridgeview (4-8): March 25 lost to Middleburg 10-4, March 29 lost to Fernandina Beach 11-5, April 1 lost to Clay 15-0, April 2 lost to Tocoi Creek 6-5

Wed., April 6 at Baker County

Fri., April 8 at Columbia

Tues., April 12 at Fletcher

Wed., April 13 at Bradford

Sat., April 16 at Carrollwood Day (Tampa)


SJCDS (10-1): March 25 beat Oakleaf 12-2, March 29 beat Trinity Christian 4-1, Clay rained out, April 2 rained out v Lowndes County

Wed., April 6 vs. Servite (CA)

Wed., April 13 vs. Tocoi Creek

Thurs., April 14 at University Christian


Keystone Heights (3-6): March 23 lost to Santa Fe 11-6, March 25 lost to Palatka 4-3, March 29 lost to Union County 5-3, March 30 beat Baldwin 9-6

Tues., April 5 at Williston

Thurs., April 7 at Fort White

Tues., April 12 at Union County

Thurs., April 14 at Bradford


Orange Park (4-9): March 25 forfeit win v. Riverside, March 29 lost to Yulee 3-1, April 1 beat Jackson 4-2

Tues., April 5 vs. Paxon

Fri., April 8 at Englewood

Mon., April 11 at Palatka

Tues., April 12 vs. Eagles View

Thurs., April 14 vs. Atlantic Coast


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