The Seahawk varsity baseball team had a fairly good week, edging Vernon, losing a tight one to Aucilla Christian and then bouncing back to down Altha.
The 5-4 victory at Vernon March 5 was a tough win, coming on a chilly night after several players had just come back from supporting the basketball team in Lakeland. “We are all proud to be Seahawks and congratulate Coach West and the Franklin County basketball team for making the Final Four,” said coach Kevin Cox.
After committing three errors in the first inning that led to three runs, the Seahawks maintained their composure and found a way to scratch out runs across in the middle innings. Once they went ahead 4-3 going into the bottom of the fourth, senior Christopher Newell, who pitched outstanding from the beginning, took over and dominated. In six innings of work, he struck out nine, walked two, and gave up four runs, just one of them earned, on three hits. Senior Micah McLeod got the save, striking out all three batters in an inning on the mound.
Sophomore Dorian Fleming was a bright spot at the plate, driving in three runs and banging out a single that scored the game-winning run after he stole second when the whole park knew he was going. Senior Caden Smith went 1 for 4, with a pair of RBI.
“We had some good swings on the night, just a lot of balls right at them,” Cox said. “We found a way to win and move to 1-0 in district play.”
At Aucilla Christian on March 7, the Seahawks had a 3-0 lead on nine hits going into the bottom of the fifth, but had one disastrous inning and fell 5-3.
“We almost had double-digit hits, but the tough thing is we had one bad inning pitching and defensively, and we lost,” Cox said. “We got pretty much everything you could ask for from a freshman making his first start on the road in a varsity game. We just made a few mistakes in the field and it cost us.”
Gage Boone struck out four and walked for in three innings of work, giving up three runs, one of them earned, on two hits. Senior Javon Pride struck out one and walked two in his two innings, giving up two runs, one of them earned, on a hit.
Cox said his team failed to capitalize at the plate with runners in scoring position. “We were 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position and left 13 runners on base overall,” he said. “The game should have been 8 or 9 to 1 if we play clean ball and get a few timely hits, but that’s baseball sometimes.”
The coach said it was good to have two seniors, Tonnor Segree and Pride back from the basketball team. “They should really help us once they get back in the groove,” Cox said. “Both had hits in this game, with Pride being 2 for 2 with three stolen bases and a run scored.”
Curry, Smith, Newell, McLeod, Fleming, and freshman Wil Varnes all had hits as well.
“Another tough way to lose was the game was called due to darkness after five-and-one-half innings,” said Cox. “That’s not why we lost but just makes it sting a bit more. We had our opportunities to score runs and just did not take advantage.”
The boys came back Friday to notch a 7-1 win at home against Altha, as Varnes and sophomore Josh Odom combined to hurl a no-hitter.
Varnes dominated over six innings, striking out eight, and walking three while giving up a run. Odom came in to close it out just as strong, facing the minimum in the seventh.
“Just a really good way to open up the home slate,” said Cox. “We had chances to score more runs early but could not capitalize, which kept the game close.”
In the fifth, big hits by Newell, Smith and Fleming enabled the Seahawks to pull away. Varnes helped his cause by going 2 for 4, driving in two runs and scoring one. Smith was 3 for 4 at the plate, with a double and a pair of runs batted in, while Pride was 2 for 4, stealing two bases and scoring a run, and Newell 1 for 4 with a double.
The Seahawks, 4-1 overall, are 1-0 in district play. They open a three-game home stand Friday, against conference foe Liberty County, and then welcome Maclay Monday and North Bay Haven Thursday.