Although the Port St. Joe baseball team split four games this past week, none was more dramatic than last Thursday’s 5-4 come-from-behind last inning win over (9-3) Bozeman.
Trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Cullen Partie led off with a sharp pinch hit single to left field before yielding the base to Hunter Hicks.
Wills Norton followed with a one-out single up the middle, and a walk to Max Godwin loaded the bases for Fisher Vandertulip, who drove in Hicks with a sacrifice fly to left field.
With runners at second and third, Jack Trochessett hit a hard bouncer that the Bozeman shortstop bobbled long enough for Trochessett to beat the throw and Norton to cross the plate with the winning run.
Bedlam ensued as the Tiger Shark players poured out of the dugout to surround Trochessett, and the home field fans erupted.
At the meeting in the outfield after the teams went through the handshake line, St. Joe coach Ashley Summerlin said “We’ve been doing good things, and a good job of getting guys on base, (but) we just haven’t done a good job getting them in.”
For the game, St. Joe batters stranded six baserunners.
“Hitting is everything in baseball,” he added. “If you’re hitting, (then) you will be playing good defense.”
“We’ve battled; we’ve struggled, and we’ve yet to really play a good baseball game,” he said.
Jabara Pearson got the scoring off to a quick start by crushing the first pitch and sending it over the fence in left center field. Pearson would also hit a double in the second inning.
Trochessett’s sacrifice fly brought Max Godwin home with the second run to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead, which they would increase to 3-0 the next inning when Godwin drove in Eli Harris from third after being brushed by a Bozeman pitch with the bases loaded.
The Bucks chipped away at the lead with a run in the third and another in the fourth before plating two more in the seventh inning with two outs to take a brief lead before the final St. Joe heroics snatched the game from them.
Vandertulip pitched five strong innings before yielding to Jentzen Odom for the sixth and seventh innings. Vandertulip also smashed a two-out triple in the fifth inning.
Bainbridge 9, PSJ 4
The next night, St. Joe traveled across state lines to 4A Bainbridge, Georgia, “a place where I’m from,” said Summerlin. “I like to go back home, and it’s always a fun atmosphere there.”
Although the Tiger Sharks took an early 1-0 lead, the (8-8) Bearcats scored four times in the second inning on their way to a 9-4 win over the visitors from Florida, in spite of the Sharks out-hitting the home team 13-8.
Pearson led St. Joe with three hits, two of which were doubles, and scored two runs. Godwin, Odom, and Vandertulip notched two hits each, with Godwin and Vandertulip hitting doubles.
CJ Conway, Harris, Baylor Partie, and Trochessett also hit safely for St. Joe.
Blountstown 16, PSJ 6
To start the week, Blountstown came to town on Monday, March 21,and scored in every inning to defeat St. Joe 16-6. The Tigers are now 9-3.
The Tiger Sharks led 5-2 after the first inning, and 6-4 after two before the Tiger pitchers slammed the door on St. Joe hitting.
After getting another run in the third, Blountstown scored twice in the fourth, three times in the fifth, four more in the sixth, and two more in their last at bat to close the night with their 10-run advantage.
Baylor Partie and Trochessett got two hits each for St. Joe, with one of Partie’s being a double. Both knocked in a run, and Trochessett scored once.
Vandertulip had a double and a run batted in, while Conway, Godwin, and Pearson all had a hit. Conway scored a run and batted in two, Godwin scored one and knocked in another, and Pearson scored twice.
In addition to surrendering 12 hits to the Tigers, five St. Joe pitchers issued 12 free passes.
Ironically, two of the Blountstown losses have come against teams that St. Joe has defeated: Franklin County and Liberty County.
PSJ 5, North Bay Haven 4
One night after the Blountstown loss, Port St. Joe got back on the winning track with a 5-4 win at North Bay Haven (3-7).
The Sharks scored four runs in the third and added a fifth in their next at bat before the Buccaneers made the game much tighter with four runs of their own in their half of the fourth inning.
Godwin, Partie, and Vandertulip combined to hold the Bucs scoreless the rest of the way and get on the bus with the win.
Harris and Hicks each hit a double and scored a run for St. Joe. Godwin, Norton, Pearson, and Vandertulip also got a hit.
Godwin scored once and drove in two, Norton scored a run and drove in another, Pearson scored a run, and Trochessett stole a base and drove in a run.
After playing host to the Franklin County Seahawks (7-4) on Tuesday, March 28, the 9-3 Tiger Sharks will await the 5-1 Bulldogs from Milan, Tennessee, on Thursday, March 30.