This story has been updated to reflect the schedule for regional baseball tournament action.
As the saying goes, the third time’s the charm.
That held true for Port St. Joe’s baseball team on Thursday, May 5, as the underdog Tiger Sharks slew the number one ranked Bozeman Bucks 3-2 to win the 1A District 4 title.
Bozeman had shut out St. Joe in two previous meetings this season by scores of 6-0 and 11-0, and had defeated Wewa 17-1 to get to the title game.
“I think the difference was (that) we played good defense,” said Shark coach Ashley Summerlin. “I know we had two errors, but they didn’t cost us any runs. It didn’t snowball like it had in the past.”
Summerlin also credited his young pitchers and their growth since the beginning of the season, and added that another difference was “just how our team has come together. They feel like they can win.”
The Tiger Sharks took an early 3-0 in the first and managed to hold on from there despite getting no more hits and fanning 17 times at the hands of Bucks senior pitcher Jeremy Todd.
Jabara Pearson led off the game with a single, but was forced on a fielder’s choice by Donovan Cumbie, who stole second base with two outs.
Jack Trochessett followed with a base hit, so the Tiger Sharks had runners at the corners when Max Godwin came through with a single to right field that drove in Cumbie.
In the ensuing exchange between the right fielder and the Bucks infield, Trochessett also scored and Godwin ended up standing on third base.
Owen Grantland worked his way on and on his successful steal of second base, Godwin sped home with St. Joe’s third and final run of the game.
Jentzen Odom kept the Bucks at bay for 5.2 innings, scattering seven hits and allowing only two runs in the third before yielding to Fisher Vandertulip for the final five outs of the game.
“Jentzen is a straight thrower (who) is able to locate and mix in some speed stuff, and he’s not what a lot of people see all of the time,” said Summerlin. “So, he’s really effective in the way he competes.”
Based on FHSAA district seedings, fourth-seeded Franklin County travels to top-seeded Chipley on Tuesday, May 10, despite the Seahawks having the better record, 18-6 compared to the Tigers at 16-10.
Port St. Joe, the #2 seed (13-11), plays host to #3 Bozeman (22-4) on Tuesday as well at 7 p.m. EST.
Port St. Joe downs Franklin County 6-2 in district opener
Port St. Joe jumped out to a 4-0 in the first two innings and held on to defeat Franklin County 6-2 in the first round of the 1A District 4 baseball tournament at Bozeman High School on Tuesday, May 3.
Although getting only four hits, the Tiger Sharks took advantage of four Seahawk errors during the game, and three St. Joe pitchers kept the Franklin County offense at bay for most of the game.
Trochessett had two hits for St. Joe, including a double, and scored a run. Dakota Quinn had a hit, scored once, and drove in a run. Godwin also had a hit and scored a run for the Sharks.
Odom, who coaxed the final out on the mound, scored and drove in a run. Pearson and Vandertulip also scored a run for St. Joe.
Cumbie, the winning pitcher, allowed four hits and two runs during his four innings. Vandertulip started the fifth inning, but Summerlin had to pull him and allow Odom to pitch the final out in the seventh inning due to pitch count rules.
“If I had left (Vandertulip) in, we couldn’t use him in Thursday’s game,” said Summerlin.
“We’ve come a long way,” since the start of the season, “winning 12 of our last 15 games,” said Summerlin. “We’ve had a difficult schedule and most of our 11 losses have come against schools that are in higher classifications.”