As the 2014 regular baseball season came to a close, the Fort Meade Miners honored seven seniors prior to their final home game against Hardee.
Daniel Watson, Devin Danforth, D.J. King, Jaren Barfield, Malik Brown, Tobias Culpepper, and Trey Porter were all cited during pre-game ceremonies as the Miners welcomed the 19-4 arch rival Hardee Wildcats, ready to avenge a 10-1 defeat earlier this season in Wauchula.
For most of the game one would believe the Miners would pull off a major win, however the Miners would come up short in the final inning falling 5-3 to the Wildcats.
Danforth took the mound for the Miners where he baffled the Wildcats for six innings, though things ended on a different note.
Danforth’s final numbers were 6 and 1⁄3 innings pitched, giving up five runs on five hits (four were earned), with four walks and five stikeouts.
The senior battled but the Wildcats answered in the seventh and his teammates weren’t able to give him quite enough runs despite a nine-hit attack.
Throughout the game both pitchers dominated but the Miners struck first in the bottom of the fourth when King laced a double into the right-center gap. Culpepper then singled King to third, bringing up Jaren Barfield, who smashed a line drive into center field for an RBI single giving the Miners a 1-0 advantage.
As Danforth cruised the Miners had chances but missed assignments which led to outs and the Miners continued to hold just a one-run lead.
The Wildcats answered with a five-run rally, stringing together 4 hits as they took a 5-1 lead heading to the host’s last at bat.
Going into the seventh chasing four, one may have lost hope for the Miners but with two outs and one on, King hit a towering fly ball to the right fielder. Looking as if the game was complete, the fielder lost the ball and King settled in at third base, scoring Brown to cut the deficit to three.
A wild pitch allowed King to score making it 5-3 but unfortunately that was it for the Miners.
The Miners would turn right back around and travel to Frostproof for the final regular season game where they would complete their two-game sweep of the rival Bulldogs as Glavine Harpe and Cody Daniels shut down the hosts, 5-1.
Harpe received the win but both pitchers combined for seven innings of one-run, one-hit baseball, walking two striking out six.
The Fort Meade offense had six hits, including two from Trey Porter, and safeties from King, Connor Slay, and Willie Coca.
During the Bulldogs last at bat Porter and Barfield closed the game out with two phenomenal plays as Porter dove down the line to snag a hit, throwing across the diamond getting the second out. Barfield was on his horse when he dove full-length on a sinking line drive that met his glove to secure the Miners 12th win of the season.
A regular season has come and gone for the 2014 Miners but the stakes are high as they start the Class 3A district 8 tournament with a match up against Santa Fe Tuesday night. The game was played too late for Leader deadlines. With a win the Miners will move on to the district championship at Santa Fe Catholic High School at 7 pm. Thursday.
The Miners have two wins over Santa Fe so far this year, by scores of 2-1 and 8-4.