FLEMING ISLAND - The St. Johns Country Day Spartans took the short drive over to Fleming Island to face off against the host Golden Eagles for what was sure to be a great game as the two undefeated crews went head-to-head.
With temperatures dipping into the 40ís, both teams would deal with the environment as well as knowing one team would be left out in the cold, remaining unbeaten at games end. All it took was one hot inning of Spartan bats in the top of the third inning for the runs to come. Up 3-0, the Spartans would allow one Golden Eagle run in the bottom of the third with bases loaded, then lean heavily on their defense, led by three freshman pitchers to shut down the Fleming Island offense several times before games end.
ìAll three of them were eighth graders last year when they cut their teeth with us, so this is very impressive to come over to Fleming Island and throw three Freshman guys who are going to be big time players,said a very proud Tom Lucas, Spartan Head Coach.
When all the dust settled, the Spartans would take a huge 3-1 road victory as Fleming Island would take their first loss on the season.
"Super proud of the guys," said Lucas. "This is a big deal for them. They worked really hard, and it's just a team effort. It's not like we just leaned on one guy.î
Both teams had the hot third inning with St. Johns drawing first blood when catcher Tyler Kuramoto was hit by a pitch and took his base with no outs. Gavin Russell came in to run for his catcher and slid on over to second on a wild pitch. Jordan Taylor hit a grounder to center field that scored Russell, then allowed Taylor to get over to second on the throw to home, 1-0. Seeing trouble, Fleming Island opted for a second hurler and on the first pitch, hit Brad Hodges putting runners on first and second, no outs. Mason Davis came in to run for the Spartan Pitcher. On a Luke Shannahan grounder and fielder's choice out at third, during the next at bat, Davis scored as a throw to third didn't work as planned, 2-0. Shannahan made his way to third on the same play. With a Jack Tolbert double, Shannahan scored putting the three runs on the board.
Fleming closed out the inning after the damage, but the momentum shift was in the air.
ìMy senior, Jack Tolbert had two clutch hits for us tonight so I'm real happy with him, and our senior catcher Tyler Kuramoto throws out two guys as well as playing great defense behind the plate. He had a great block in the fifth inning that saved a run," said Lucas.
In the bottom of the 3rd, Fleming Island loaded the bases with no outs and looked like they may even things up. Noah McCollum scored on a Scott Kondroik ground out. With two outs, Fleming Island again loaded the bases, only to have the Spartans hold the line, closing out the inning.