Port St. Joe won both baseball games they played this past week, and improved to 13-4 for the season. Last year, the Tiger Sharks finished the season with 13 wins.
On Monday, April 3, Fisher Vandertulip hurled his second consecutive complete game and St. Joe scored twice in the fourth inning to defeat Walton (7-9) 2-0 in what Coach Ashley Summerlin called a “sleep walk.”
“Monday games are tough on the road without going through a pre-game routine,” he said. “But it was a good win for us.”
In another impressive start, Vandertulip threw only 79 pitches, allowing only one hit. As Summerlin put it, “Fisher was dealing.”
The Tiger Sharks ended the deadlock in the fourth when Eli Harris belted his first home run, and then Wills Norton drove in Cullen Partie with a two-out hit.
“Our young kids have been stepping up and doing a good job,” Summerlin said. “We are starting to gel, but can’t take any game for granted.”
Against the visitors from Jackson, Georgia, on Thursday, April 6, St. Joe scored eight times in the second inning on their way to an 11-3 win.
The (8-15) Red Devils, the third out-of-state school who has come to Port St. Joe this season, took a brief 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning on a two-out single to center before a heads-up play from first baseman Vandertulip prevented further Jackson scoring.
Vandertulip, who had previously made arguably the defensive play of the game to end the first inning when he ranged far to his right to snare a hard hit ball and outrace the batter to first, covered third base to take a throw from catcher CJ Conway and tag the sliding runner in time to end the inning.
In all, Vandertulip recorded seven putouts, including all three in the Red Devil third.
In the St. Joe second, three walks, three errors, three singles, and a double led to eight Tiger Shark scores. Jack Trochessett, Conway, and Wills Norton hit run-scoring singles, and Max Godwin drove in two with his double.
In the St. Joe fourth, three more Jackson errors contributed to two more runs and a 10-1 Shark lead.
Jackson and St. Joe each scored a run in the fifth to make the score 11-2, and the Red Devils added their final run in the seventh. Godwin, the third Shark pitcher, induced a strikeout to end the game with runners at the corners.
Commenting after the game about his team winning their 13th game of the season, Summerlin said “We’ve got experience. Our kids are learning and doing things, (but) we’ve still got a long way to go.”
“We’ve really gone through our toughest part of our schedule, and we’re sitting in a good position right now, but we know there’s still a lot of ball left, and good teams out there,” he said.
Summerlin mentioned that he was able to put every player in the game against Jackson, “and these guys practice every day, so giving them an opportunity to play is good.”
Summerlin said that the Jackson coach, Ryan Duffey, wanted to come back and play next year because of the good experience that his team and the parents had during their Spring Break week.
After going to Bozeman on Wednesday, April 12, St. Joe will play at Wewahitchka on Friday, April 14.