Ponte Vedra’s baseball team has now won four games in a row after shutting out Episcopal 10-0 last Friday night at Sharks Park.
The streaking Sharks have been led during the early start to the season by the one-two combo of pitching ace Tony Roca and slugging newcomer Sebastian Rothman.
Roca has been nearly perfect in his 11 1/3 of work to begin the young season. The hard throwing junior southpaw began the season by pitching a no-hit ball for his first 10 1/3 inning of work, before his no-hit streak was snapped when Episcopal’s Michael Barker blooped an opposite field base hit leading off the 5th inning.
Rothman, who played last year on the Junior Varsity team, has been a most welcome addition to the current Shark nine. After going 3-3 with three RBIs in the shutout victory over Episcopal on Breast Cancer Awareness Night, Rothman has improved his batting average to a team leading .556 with 7 RBIs and a hefty slugging percentage of .944.
The Sharks began their streak with an impressive 7-5 victory over Bolles on March 1 with Roca being both the pitching and hitting star for Ponte Vedra. After falling behind the two-time state champs 3-2, Roca belted a grand slam home run in the third inning to drive in what would prove to be the winning runs.
After Bolles closed the gap to 6-5, Roca came on in relief to slam the door shut on the Bulldogs with 2 1/3 scoreless and hitless innings. Earlier in the contest, Rothman launched a towering solo home run over the centerfield fence. Roca and Rothman would finish with a pair of extra base hits as each player also contributed a double in the contest.
The Sharks would then sweep Orange Park in their first outing against a district opponent with wins on March 6 and 7. Behind the shutout pitching from freshman Dillon Haines and junior Joe Panariello, the Sharks cruised to an easy 8-0 victory over Orange Shark in game one.
However, nothing came easy for the locals in the return match at Sharks Park.
Playing with a MLB-maxed roster of 25 players, veteran head coach Tom Stanton turned to many of his reserves in the second game against Orange Park. After going winless during the entire 2017 season, it seemed like a safe play by starting a number of his Shark reserves. The move nearly backfired as Orange Park shocked the Sharks and the first two PVHS pitchers by jumping out to a 6-2 lead.
Thanks to some fine pitching in relief from junior Luke Isaacs, and some sloppy fielding on the part of the visitors, Ponte Vedra was able to avert the upset by rallying from behind to escape with a 9-6 victory. The Sharks were only able to muster five hits, none from any of the reserves inserted into the starting lineup, but capitalized on seven errors to avert what could have been a shocking upset.
No rally was needed against Episcopal as Roca, with one inning of relief help from Kevin Faulkner, shut out the visitors 10-0. Rothman (3-3), junior Carter Page and sophomore Porter Jordheim had multi-hit games as the Sharks improved their season record to 5-2. Both of Jordheim’s hits went for doubles, with his second two-base blow being a two-run blast that ended the game with the 10-run mercy rule.