- Gainesville, FL. Written by: Kyrin Mayfield
Baseball is a sport that will frustrate you over and over until you almost become numb to the sting of failure.
Even the best MLB players fail two-thirds of the time. Very rare is it to see a player be perfect from the plate in a game, but there’s a saying that you see something new each game you go, to.
That was the case during a game between the P.K. Yonge Blue Wave and Newberry Panthers, this past Thursday.
Newberry has had a hot start to the season, winning four out of their first five games. District play has been rough, however, as the Panthers were 2-3 coming into Friday’s game.
Meanwhile, the Blue Wave were still looking for their first district win on the season.
Both teams played against each other on Thursday with Newberry coming out victorious 7-2. Cole Purvis had a good offensive night with two RBIs and one run. With home field advantage this time, P.K. Yonge was hoping for a different outcome.
Newberry starting pitcher Dylan Schaffer set the defensive tone by striking out two of the first three batters in the bottom of the first. He then got some support from his offense in the top of the second when Justin Crews got on with a two out single.
Nate Bailey was walked and Dee Covey followed with a double to score Crews. Purvis hit a single to bring in Bailey and the Panthers held a 2-0 lead.
In the top of the third Parker Aultman hit a double to left and then stole third. Blue Wave right fielder Kyrin Griffin made a great diving catch on a pop-fly from the next batter. Crews was the hit by a pitch and later caught in a pickle between first and second base, which allowed Aultman to come home for a 3-0 lead.
P.K. Yonge started to chip away at the deficit in the bottom of the inning. Casey O’Dell led off with a walk. He mad his way to third from a ground ball on the infield, and then a wild pitch. Nate Nicholson was also walked, bringing up Kyle Chappell who hit a single to right. O’Dell scored and Nicholson was on his way to third when a laser was thrown by right fielder Dante Starks to tag him out at third. Newberry’s lead was now 3-1.
The Panthers ran away with it in the top of the fourth, scoring five more runs. Bailey walked to lead off and Covey followed with a double. Purvis was hit by a pitch for the second time to load the bases. Ma’Kai Johnson hit a double to left to bring home two of those runners. Purvis then scored on a wild pitch.
Starks got on from a fielders choice and then scored along with Johnson from a Kaleb Compton single. Newberry led 8-1 and won the game by that score. Jaron Feagle was brought on in the seventh to close out the game and struck out the side.
Covey had a perfect night going 4-for-4 with a run and an RBI for Newberry.
“I was seeing the ball pretty well,” Covey said, “and looking for outside pitches. I worked on staying closed and having my foot down.”
Johnson was 2-for-5 with a run and two RBIs. Schaffer pitched six innings allowing only one run and striking out three.
"I would like to throw a lot more strikes,” said Schaffer. “I mean, I had a lot more walks than strikeouts tonight, so I would like to improve on that.”
For the Blue Wave, Chappell went 1-for-2 with an RBI. Newberry (8-4) will next take on Union County on Tuesday. P.K. Yonge (2-6) plays Interlachen, also on Tuesday.