The Fort Meade Miners varsity baseball team approached arguably the most crucial part of the regular season riding a 4-0 start in 3A district 8 play, with some thrilling victories.
Unfortunately for the Miners, they would get a taste of their own medicine as they traveled to Lakeland to battle the Lakeland Christian Vikings.
The Vikings turned to their hard- throwing southpaw Logan Browning, a commit to the University of Florida and son of former major league pitcher Tom Browning, to start and often, Fort Meade would get the most of Browning.
In fact, the Miners scored seven runs on six hits against the Vikings ace. D.J. King led with a 3-for-4 game and Trey Porter launched his second homer of the season obliterating a line drive off the bus garage in left field.
With a 3-2 lead in the sixth, the Miners would tally four runs off three hits busting the game open with a 7-2 lead.
However in the bottom half of the sixth the Vikings would come storming back with four runs of their own and go into the bottom half of the seventh trailing by one.
The Vikings would take advantage of two Miners errors and deadlock the game at 7-7. The Miners were quiet in the top half of the eighth and the Vikings would get a two out walk-off hit as the Vikings prevailed 8-7, leaving both teams with district marks of 4-1.
The following night the Miners would travel to Bartow and square up with the Jackets in the final showdown of the Highway 17 baseball series, but they would come up short in a very dramatic ball game where Bartow would come away in their final at bat winning 4-3.
The Miners and Jackets battled through some tough pitching going back and forth with senior Malik Brown leading the way getting two hits in three at bats. With two outs in the fifth, Brown scorched a line drive into the left center gap that chased home Cody Daniels, as Brown wound up with a triple, and the score remained tied until the bottom of the seventh.
Bartow would take advantage of some inconsistent pitching which led to a bases loaded jam with two outs and a passed ball allowed the winning run to score.
Full of steam and determined to win, the Miners traveled again to Lakeland to this time take on the Santa Fe Crimson Hawks in the Miners’ last district game of the season.
For the Miners, who came out swinging, it would pay off as Fort Meade would crush the Hawks ace for 6 runs on 6 hits. King and Brown would combine going 4-for-6 with two runs batted in but the line of the night came from the freshman starter Cody Daniels who didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning. Daniels went 5 2⁄3 innings giving up three runs on one hit, walking three and striking out one. Daniels was also 2-for-4 with three runs batted in leading the Miners to their 5th district win finishing 5-1 in league play awaiting a coin toss to determine the seeding in the district tournament.
The Miners are continuing to roll to the end of the regular season. First they traveled to Lake Gibson last night, but tonight, in what should be a barn burner, the Miners are looking to avenge a painful loss to the Hardee Wildcats as they celebrate their seniors for the final regular season home game. The seniors will be recognized prior to the game so come early; the ball game will start at 7. The Miners will wrap up the regular season at Frostproof Thursday night.