Down 5-3 to the visitors from Seminole County, Georgia, Port St. Joe rallied for three runs in the sixth inning to snatch a 6-5 come-from-behind win this past Friday, April 21.
It was the fourth come-from-behind win for Coach Ashley Summerlin’s “cardiac kids” this season, and brought their record to 16-6 entering the final week of the regular season.
Earlier in the week, the Tiger Sharks thrashed St. John Paul II 14-1 in five innings on Monday behind a 13-hit attack that included five extra base hits.
“We got started from the get-go,” said Summerlin. “Our batting cage work has really been paying off. Hitting a round ball with a round bat is hard, but we’ve been consistently getting it done.”
Jabara Pearson started the scoring early with a lead-off homer, and after St. Joe scored one more in the first, they increased the lead to 8-0 after two innings.
The Sharks led 12-0 after three and added two more runs in the fourth before the Panthers (8-11) were able to avoid a shutout with their only run in the fifth.
Jentzen Odom pitched three innings to earn the win, with Baylor Partie and Hunter Hicks splitting the final two innings.
In addition to his home run, Pearson also sped around the bases for a triple. He scored two runs and drove in one.
Eli Harris, Hicks, Wills Norton, and Fisher Vandertulip each had two hits, with one of Vandertulip’s being a round tripper. Harris had a double, scored one and drove in one.
Hicks drove in a run, Norton scored three times and drove in one, and Vandertulip scored twice and had three RBI.
Max Godwin, who has batted .733 over the past five games, added a triple, scored two runs, and drove in one. Partie and Jack Trochessett each had a hit, with Partie scoring one and driving in another.
Garrett Acree scored a run, and Landrick Moore drove in one.
The Shark running attack was in high gear as well, with seven stolen bases. Norton, Pearson, and Vandertulip each had two swipes, and Partie had one.
Things didn’t work out as well the following night, as the Sharks fell at Liberty County 5-4.
Held to seven hits, St. Joe failed to score until the seventh inning with the Bulldogs (10-9) ahead 4-0. Behind a Pearson home run and Godwin’s run-scoring double, the Sharks scored four runs to tie the
game only to see Liberty County score an unearned run to walk off with the win in their half of the seventh.
Vandertulip pitched the first four innings, allowing only two hits and one earned run.
Godwin had three of the St. Joe hits, including two doubles, scored a run and drove in another. Harris added a double, Norton had a hit and scored a run, and Trochessett added a hit. Corban Butts also scored a run.
Friday night’s contest against the visitors from South Georgia had a more pleasant ending for local fans, with the Sharks earning the win in their last at bat against the 18-10 Indians.
With the score tied 2-2, the Indians scored three runs in the fifth to take a 5-3 lead, but could not keep the lead.
“We’re a scrappy team that’s going to play hard for 21 outs,” said Summerlin. “We had some pretty good bats that last inning, and not being selfish really helped us pull it out,” referring to players who worked the count and earned walks. Two St. Joe runs scored via the base on balls.
“We played a lot of guys last night, and it was a full team effort to win the game,” he said. “We’ve got the fight, and they never give up. And when the pressure got to (Seminole), they didn’t make the plays they had made earlier.”
Odom started the game on the mound and went 4.1 innings, allowing five hits and five runs, although only two were earned. Norton replaced Odom and went the final 2.2 innings to earn the win.
Although the Sharks got only four base hits, two of which were doubles by Harris, they benefited from five walks, a hit batsman, and five Seminole errors.
Pearson and Trochessett got the other base hits for St. Joe, with Trochessett scoring a run and driving in another. Harris scored twice, with Butts, Hicks, and Odom also scoring.
Godwin and Norton each drove in a run in the sixth inning after receiving bases-loaded walks. With district playoffs looming, “We’re fine tuning things at the end of the year,” said Summerlin.
After hosting Wewa for “senior night” on Monday, April 24, and North Bay Haven on Tuesday, St. Joe will end the regular season at Godby on Friday, April 28.