Seeing double ... Walkoffs highlight Friday diamond action

Williams homer crunches No. 1 St. Johns

By Ray DiMonda Correspondent
Posted 3/17/21

ORANGE PARK - With two Clay County teams facing off last Friday night with a combined record of 16-1, someone was going home very upset.

The Clay High Blue Devils (9-1) made the trip over to the …

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.

Seeing double ... Walkoffs highlight Friday diamond action

Williams homer crunches No. 1 St. Johns

Posted

ORANGE PARK - With two Clay County teams facing off last Friday night with a combined record of 16-1, someone was going home very upset.

The Clay High Blue Devils (9-1) made the trip over to the St. Johns Country Day Spartan’s back yard to see if they could dish out a first loss to the Spartans who are perfect up to this point.

“That’s the (MaxPreps) number one team in the nation, so they wanted us for a long time” said Clay Head Coach Josh Persinger. “You know there is a lot of hype around that team, and for a good reason. They are a really, really good team. One through nine, they have like what, six, seven D-1 commits? I knew we were just going to out-heart them.”

With the Blue Devils suffering a 1-0 moral killer versus the Bolles Bulldogs just a week ago, they were looking for someone to take out some frustration on.

The Blue Devils would land an early, but light first punch, then stand toe-to-toe with the Spartans through seven innings before the Clay bats rose to the occasion.

The Spartans never got the train out of the station as they could not muster up any answers for the stout hurling they faced from the mound. In the end, the Spartans absorbed the first loss this season that will sting over the weekend as the Blue Devils took the victory home three to zero.

For the Blue Devils, the action centered around the mound as Brandon Adams went the distance, taking down 12 Spartans with strikeouts and allowing only a single hit all night while walking just one Spartan. “Brandon’s had a lot of interest, but no one is pulled the trigger. They think maybe he can’t compete,” said Persinger.

With that power at the plate, the Spartans never could get zoned in. When asked if the Blue Devils handed them anything they didn’t expect, Spartans Head Coach Tom Lucas said “They pitched us a little different then they did last year. They kept us off balance with a lot more curveballs and off-speed pitches than they did last time. That kid (Adams) has a really good fastball.”

With the stout defense, it was only a matter of time before the Spartans would hand the Blue Devils what they were looking for over the plate. In the top of the third inning, Brad Hodges walked Rich Long. With two outs, Dylan Greene bounced a deep fly off the center field fence. Jordan Taylor made a play on the ball, took a second to get a handle on it, and looked to get the ball in. The ball got to the cutoff who made a miscue and never played the ball at home plate. All the way from first base, Long made a great, dramatic head first slide, safe over the plate, only to get up and see the ball never made it in. Blue Devils up one, nothing.

Then we went into four innings of would have, could have with both teams, resulting in no score. That was until once again, Rich Long takes another walk with only one out. Facing Jordan Taylor on the mound, Max Williams, who up to this point struck out three times, found just what the Doctor ordered, and tattooed the ball out and over the right field fence for a two run home run putting the Blue Devils out front, 3-0.

“Max is an Alabama commit who was pushing” said Persinger. “Sometimes you get in that situation and all eyes are on you.”

Soaking in all the power from his team’s offense, Adams went to the hill one last time to strike out the first two Spartans, then have his defense slam the door with a fly out to center field to close the night with a Clay High victory that handed the Spartans that first, stinging defeat. Persinger tipped his hat to the outstanding work from the hill

“To me, tonight our goal was to prove everyone wrong and hopefully we did that. I’ll put my name on Brandon,” said Persinger. “I’ll put my name on any of these guys. It was exciting. They played exactly the way I wanted them to. Just beat them in every possible way.”

Lucas was optimistic that the game would have a long term benefit.

“In the grand scheme of things, you can learn a lot from losing these types of games. We knew we weren’t going undefeated. We have to get a lot better,” said Lucas.

Comments

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