- Union County, FL. Written By: Kyrin Mayfield
In high school baseball, players have much to improve, especially in fielding because of the increase in field size from Little League. Because of this, victory often comes to the team that makes the fewest mistakes, specifically errors.
A perfect example of this can be found in a baseball game between the Union County Tigers and the Atlantic Sharks on Friday.
After starting 0-7, the Tigers have been heating up going 2-2 in the next four games. They scored at least six runs in three of those four after scoring no more than three in four of the first seven games. Jay Cohen had ten hits in that stretch, increasing his batting average by a substantial margin from .095 to .324.
Atlantic found some recent success, too. They won the first three games of the season, but lost the next five. After that rough stretch, they won the next two and were looking to increase their winning streak to three against Union County. Rust was a concern heading into this game as their last game was seven days prior.
A doubleheader was originally scheduled for Friday, but Atlantic informed Union County the day prior that they would be unable to make the first game.
After making the approximately three-hour drive from Port Orange, Atlantic arrived and looked sluggish from the traveling. Despite a team ERA of 1.97, the Sharks gave up the first run of the game in the bottom of the first. With one out, Quiten Rawls hit a single to center field and stole second. Cohen was walked to put runners on first and second for Trace Croft. He hit Rawls in with a single to right and an early 1-0 lead for the Tigers.
Atlantic only had one hit until the fourth inning when Alex Turner hit a double past the first baseman and later scored on a Dominic Brutto single to center to tie the game at 1-1. Union County wasted no time in retaking the lead when they scored in the bottom half of the inning.
Paden Clyatt led off and was hit by a pitch. Daniel Tollesfurd laid down a sac bunt to move Clyatt over to second. He then scored when Jake O’Steen hit a double to left field. The Tigers were back up 2-1.
It seemed both offenses were waking up as Atlantic scored again in the top of the fifth. Kevin Walsh came in to pinch hit and knocked a single past the third baseman. Luke Bentley hit a ground ball in the infield that led to Walsh being out at second but Bentley was safe on first. Dalton Hurst followed with a triple that brought home Bentley and tied the game back up, this time at 2-2.
Both teams were unable to muster any runs before the end of regulation. There was technically extra baseball even though one game was canceled. Not wanting to get home too late, Atlantic quickly scored in the top of the eighth. Alex Turner led off. He hit a ground ball to the second baseman. The throw was high and pulled the first baseman off the bag, allowing Turner to be safe on the error.
Sebastian Spada was next up. While at bat, the catcher threw down to first trying to pick off Turner. The throw went past the first baseman and into left field while Turner made his way to second. Spada got hit by a pitch, which brought up Evan Jackson. An error by the pitcher allowed him to be safe on first and brought home Turner to give the Sharks the lead and, eventually, the 3-2 win. A win that was primarily earned because of three defensive errors.
Hurst went 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Sharks. Turner scored two runs while going 1-for-4. Rawls pitched a great game for the Tigers, throwing six and a third innings allowing two runs, five hits and striking out two. Croft was 2-for-3 with an RBI. O’Steen, coming into the game with just one hit on the season, went 2-for-2 with an RBI.
Atlantic (6-5) hosts Colonial tonight for the start of a four-game home-stand and the hope of finishing with their first winning season since 2015.