JACKSONVILLE - The Oakleaf Athletic Association 11 Unders baseball team lost a thrilling late inning finals match, but still advanced to the Babe Ruth Cal Ripken regional tournament as area age group …
JACKSONVILLE - The Oakleaf Athletic Association 11 Unders baseball team lost a thrilling late inning finals match, but still advanced to the Babe Ruth Cal Ripken regional tournament as area age group baseball teams competed in the North Florida state tournaments.
Oakleaf, playing in Lake City in their double elimination tournament, opened with wins over Julington Creek and Wakulla before Pensacola won a 9-5 game in the third round. Oakleaf regrouped to beat Gainesville 7-6 in the semifinal before losing 5-4 to Pensacola to take second place.
Against Pensacola, Oakleaf fought back from an early 3-0 deficit to tie the game at 4-4 in the fourth inning with grounders from Giancarlo Calderon and Abrien Paserio, but a passed ball with bases loaded in the sixth inning gave Pensacola the win.
Oakleaf will travel to Wilmington, NC for their regional tournament before heading to Jensen Beach in August to compete in the World Series.
For Orange Park's 10-unders, coached by David Hopkins, got to their semifinal game after losing their tournament opener 6-0 to Fort Carolina. The Crush recovered and won two games; 14-7 over Pensacola and 7-0 over Marietta to set up a chance to play in the final with a win over Levy Park on Sunday. With their initial loss, Orange Park had to beat Levy Park to advance, but Levy Park came back from a 6-0 deficit to win 10-7 to end the Crush season.
"It's been a long time since Orange Park has gotten this far," said Hopkins, an OPAA coach for nearly 15 years. "These kids only came together as a team for the past three months. A lot of these teams have been together for years. We gave it our best shot."
Against Levy Park, Orange Park opened the game with three runs coming from a two run single from Justus Sweat. Sweat got the two RBIs from a bases loaded situation from a single to Madden Avery, Connoer McGurkin getting hit by a pitch and a well-place bunt from Brian Allen.
A grounder to Cameron Nixon scored the third run to score the game 3-0.
With Mason Bass on the mound, the Orange Park defense put the first three Levy Park batters back in the dugout quickly.
Orange Park got two more baserunners off walk in the second inning, but was unable to get them across home plate.
Again, the Orange Park defense put three batters away efficiently with Bass getting his second strikeout of the day.
In the top of the third, Orange Park struck again for three runs with McGurkin singling and Sweat getting hit with a pitch getting one run set up with a wild pitch.
A double from A.D. Marty and an outfield error on a hit from Aidan Leonard scored two runs to put Orange Park up 6-0.
Levy Park chipped away at the Orange Park lead in the bottom of the third with three runs off four errors in the field.
Orange Park, facing a new pitcher, would get just one baserunner off a walk in the fourth inning.
With Bass still hurling for Orange Park despite a minor hand injury from a barehand stab at a hard grounder, Levy Park attacked the outfield with big hits coming from errors and setting up three more runs to tie the game at 6-6.
With Allen taking over on the mound for Orange Park, Levy Park again took advantage of errors plus hit three singles to take the lead at 10-6.
Orange Park finished the game with a final run in the sixth and Levy Park getting a double play on a shortstop flyball and base tag to end the game.
Orange Park finished at 16-6-1 for the season.
Florida Babe Ruth Cal Ripken State Baseball Tournaments
14 Unders North Florida State Tournament
Round One: Oakleaf lost 12-0 to Fort Caroline
Round Two: Oakleaf lost 13-7 to West Volusia
Fort Caroline beats Hamilton County 16-0 for title
12 Unders North Florida state Tournament
Live Oak, FL
Round One: Orange Park lost 13-3 to Bill Bond
Round Two: Orange Park lost 16-2 to Lafayette
Bill Bond beats South Daytona 3-1 for title
11 Unders North Florida State Tournament
Lake City, FL
Round One: Oakleaf beats Julington Creek 9-5
Round Two: Oakleaf beats Wakulla 14-4
Round Three: Pensacola beats Oakleaf 9-5
Round Four (Semifinal): Oakleaf beats Gainesville 7-6
Round Five (Final): Oakleaf loses to Pensacola 5-4
10 Unders North Florida State Tournament
Fort Caroline, FL
Round One: Orange Park loses to Fort Carolina 6-0
Round Two: Orange Park beats Pensacola 14-7
Round Three: Orange Park beats Marietta 7-0
Round Four (Semifinal): Levy Park beats Orange Park 10-7
Levy Park wins championship
9 Unders North Florida State Tournament
Lake City, FL
Round One: Oakleaf loses to Ormond Beach 16-8
Round Two: Oakleaf beats Wakulla 12-5
Round Three: Oakleaf beats Jax Beach 13-5
Round Four: Oakleaf loses to Ormond Beach 17-9
MSA Redtails beat Ormond Beach 15-2 for title
TBall A State Tournament
West Palm Beach, FL
June 27-July 8
Round One: Keystone loses to Lake City 11-4
Oviedo beats Okeeheelee 20-13 for title
State Rookie Tournament
Palm Beach Gardens
Pool play: Oakleaf 1-2
Beat Key West 11-4; Lost 5-0 to Jax Beach; Lost 11-10 to North Tampa