ORANGE PARK – St. Johns Country Day School’s baseball team ended their Spring Break week on a high note at the Florida League Summer Tournament held in Orlando March 18-22 with a 5-1 win over the Royal Palm Beach Wildcats.
“This is a playoff game in every game for a whole week,” said St. Johns coach Tom Lucas. “We just didn’t convert some chances and the other teams took advantage. You can’t make little mistakes against teams of this caliber.”
The Spartans return home to Orange Park with the win over Royal Palm Beach, but with losses to Key West (1-0), Christian Academy of Knoxville (4-1, twice state champions) and Montverde Academy (6-3, 26-0 in 2018).
“Every team there will probably play for a state title wherever they are from,” said Lucas. “This kind of tournament shows off the little parts of the game that make teams play precisely each inning.”
St. Johns, 6-5 overall, shoved off from campus after wins of 4-3 over Bartram Trail and 10-2 over Stanton to compete in the prestigious tournament that ended with Bolles winning the tournament title via a 10-2 win over University High of Orlando.
“That Tennessee team had three NCAA Division I pitchers; all above 90 miles per hour,” said Lucas. “This is one of the more athletic teams we have had. We can run better, but still are young.”
Against Royal Palm Beach (4-4), falling behind early, the Spartans were able to score four times in the top of the second. After an error and a fielder’s choice put two across, Connor Moore came through with a triple to center that scored Jordan Taylor and Luke Shannahan.
The 4-1 lead was plenty for Taylor, who started on the mound for SJCD. In their tournament opener, Mon., March 18 against Montverde Academy, a 6-3 loss, the Spartans tied the game at 2-2 in the third with a walk to M Davis, a grounder from c Moore and an error that scored one run to set up a tying run off a Tyler Kuramoto grounder that scored Moore.
In the fourth, St. Johns took a 4-3 lead of a single to Jordan Taylor, a walk to Brad Hodges and a wild pitch that scored Taylor.
Christian Academy of Tennessee scored three runs in the fifth in their 4-1 win St. Johns limited to just five hits; doubles from Kuramoto and Taylor, but the solo run.
“We were holding them with great pitching and getting hits,” said Lucas.
Against Key West, the lone run was scored in the sixth with Key West getting seven hits and St. Johns just one..
St. Johns was district 3-3A runnerup last year to University Christian and a first round out in the region playoffs to 3A runnerup North Florida Christian.
Tues., March 26 vs. St. Joseph 7pm
Wed., March 27 at Ridgeview 6pm
Fri., March 29 vs. St. Francis 6pm
Wed., April 3 at Creekside 640pm
Fri., April 5 at St. Francis 430pm
Tues., April 9 at University Christian 7pm