Ponte Vedra’s baseball team heads into the district playoffs with momentum from a pair of key wins over the Clay Blue Devils – the district co-favorite along with the Sharks. Last Wednesday, the Sharks traveled to Clay and came home with a 7-3 win. Then Thursday Ponte Vedra nearly duplicated the feat with a thrilling 5-3 victory at their home field.
In their home matchup on Thursday, neither team could score in the first three innings. After blanking the visitors for four frames, the Sharks scored a pair in their half of the fourth on a pair of singles by Kevin Mauro and Eric Aleman and a sac fly by Sandon Witt.
Ponte Vedra scored three more runs in the fifth inning to take a 5-0 led. Zach Chappell started the rally with a double down the left field line. Michael Zenni followed with a single, Mauro walked and Witt picked up another RBI with a single. Jack Layrisson’s base hit drove in two more, putting Ponte Vedra up 5-0.
Clay got one run back in the sixth off pitcher Matt Mixon before Zach Chappell came in to retire the side.
The visitors mounted a serious threat in the seventh inning after a walk and a Shark error chased Chappell, bringing in Mark Mixon.
Shark second baseman Quinton Brehm made a fine play on a slow infield hopper to get the batter but the two base runners advanced to scoring position. A base hit delivered the two runners. Mixon then struck out the next Devil batter, but issued a pair of walks, loading the bases and prompting coach Tom Stanton to bring in his ace reliever Justin Vega. Stanton pushed the right button as Vega struck out the next batter to end the game leaving the bases loaded.