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Despite exploding for a six run third inning against the Fort White Indians, the Red Devil baseball team took the 7-6 win down to the last out, in the last inning, on a very close play on Friday night April 8.
The Red Devils took a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning after Connor Clayton drew a lead off walk, stole second base and was moved to third on a perfect sacrifice bunt by Austin Etheridge.
The Indians made an even quicker recovery in the top of the second inning. With 2 outs, Fort White put a batter on first base with a hit batter. Zack Gaskins then laced a deep double scoring the runner from first base tying the game at 1-1. Robbie Howell put the Indians ahead with a single scoring Gaskins as the Indians took a 2-1 lead.
The Red Devils left runners on second and third base in the bottom of the second inning as the score remained the same.
The Indians added another run in the top of the third inning to take a 3-1 lead in the game.
The bottom of the third inning was one of the biggest innings of the season for the Red Devils. Loading the bases with no outs, the Red Devils scored 2 runs on two base hit singles to tie the score at 3-3. The bases were loaded for the second time in the inning with 2 outs. Jared Caswell blasted a full count pitch sky high in the infield just past the first base bag. With the three runners going with the full count pitch, the Indians first baseman could not locate the towering fly ball. As the runners began to score the ball fell to the ground in fair territory just behind the first baseman. It took several seconds for the ball to be located as Caswell was safe at first and the bases had emptied for the Red Devils, scoring all three for a 6-3 lead. The Red Devils were not finished however. The Devils loaded the bases again and Max White took a called ball four to score Caswell from third. The Red Devils now held a 7-3 lead after three complete innings.
Neither team scored in the fourth of fifth inning despite the Red Devils threatening to blow the game open. Christian Morris, Justin Baker, and Bradley Jones all reached base safely, loading the bases again in the fourth inning with no outs. The Red Devils failed to score as the Indians picked up a strike out and a double play to end the Red Devil threat. Neither team scored in the fifth inning, but the Indians picked up another run in the top of the sixth inning, pulling the score to 7-4.
The Red Devils again loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning following a Baker double, a Dillon Moody single. Once again the Red Devils failed to add to their lead.
Fort White came to bat in the top of the seventh inning for their last at bat. They loaded the bases with no outs and scored 2 runs to pull to within one run of tying the game. With 2 outs and runners on second and third the Indian batter was called out at first base on a very close play on the throw from the Red Devil short stop as the would be tying run crossed the plate to end the game. The Red Devils had survived for the district win.
“We left far too many runs on the bases tonight,” said Red Devil coach Jim Smith following the game.
Smith was referring to the 14 base runners that were left stranded on the bases without scoring.