The Miner varsity baseball team steam rolled into spring break red hot, winning six of their last seven contests, but a week before they would put themselves in the driver’s seat of the 3A District 8 playoff race.
In their first district game the Miners came out complacent, but strung together six hits, scoring 7 runs to beat All Saints 7-3. Devin Danforth recorded his third win of the season, going four innings giving up three runs (one earned) on two hits while striking out five.
Daniel Watson and Trey Porter combined the last 3 innings mowing down the Saints allowing only one base runner to seal the triumph.
The Miners headed into their next district game with a taste of disgust in their mouth. The Lakeland Christian Vikings came into town riding a four-game winning streak against the hosts but the Miners came in ready to snap it.
Glavine Harpe pitched a seven inning gem giving up two runs on six hits while striking out five in earning his second victory.
The Miners and Vikings fought through a pitchers duel that would come down to late game heroics from hustle to clutch hitting.
It all started when DJ King led off getting nailed in the back by a pitch, putting the tying run on base. King would do nothing more but wreak havoc on the Vikings defense as he stole second only to have the catcher over throw the shortstop as the ball sailed into centerfield. King immediately broke for third like his life depended on it, only to have the Viking centerfielder airmail the ball over the third baseman’s head going to the fence, allowing King to make a mad dash to the plate where he beat the throw into home to deadlocked the game at 2.
The passion and momentum shifted as the Miners kept the rally going as Tobias Culpepper smashed a line drive into center for a single. Danforth them hit a grounder, and while Culpepper was forced at second, an errant throw allowed Danforth to reach second with one out.
Willie Coca came up hitting a tapper to third that allowed Danforth to be 90 feet from pay dirt. An intentional walk to Malik Brown, who already had two hits in the game, set up the force at second, but would set the table for the freshman Jacob Page.
The Vikings guessed wrong as Page obliterated a first pitch fastball into the left-center gap for the signature walk-off district win placing the Miners 2-0 in the league.
After all the excitement the Miners would turn right around and trip their bitter rivals by a football score of 17-7 sending the Bulldogs yelping back to Frostproof ending the game early because of the 10 run rule.
The Miners with only five hits took advantage of 11 walks and 8 Bulldog errors as they used four pitchers to earn win number seven.
Hot off the press and out for Spring Break the Miners went into the Blue Devil Classic on a six-game winning streak as they would take on the Bartow Yellow Jackets. Unfortunately the Miners would run into trouble as the Jackets came out swinging early tallying 6 runs off 5 hits vs Devin Danforth. Throughout the game it was all Jackets until the top of the 6th inning when things started getting peculiar.
Trey Porter known for his athletic ability, and is known by his friends, family, and coaches as having a sense of humor. It would come into play as he dug into the box pinch hitting, Porter turned to the umpire and “Called his shot” asking the ump in a joking manner if he was ready as he launched the first pitch fastball deep into the trees in left field for a homerun leaving everyone in disbelief.
The Miners would tack on three more runs, yet they would fall to the Jackets 9-5. The next day the Miners would come back as they dominated the Teneroc Titans 8-2 as Harpe silenced the Titan bats. King had the highlight of the game as he belted a long two-run homer visiting the left field trees giving the Miners their eighth win. The final day of tournament games the Miners would battle for fourth place as they took on the 7A State Runner-up the Haines City Hornets where freshman Cody Daniels dealt a valiant performance as the Miners came up short in a very respectable 4-1 final.
The Miners have mightily improved their record to 8-9 on the season going 8-3 in their last 11 games. Come out and support the Miners as they host All Saints Friday night at Miner Field at 7 p.m.