The Fort Meade varsity baseball team continued their early season struggles last week, winning just one of three games and losing their first district contest of the year.
The good news is the season is less than a third gone. The not-so-good news is the boys continue to struggle to find consistency of play, as evidenced in last week’s effort.
Fort Meade traveled to Lake Gibson last Tuesday. As they have in a number of their six losses, the Miners trailed early in the contest, falling behind by a 3-0 margin in the first inning. They would battle back at the end but still fall 4-3 to the big-school squad from north Lakeland.
Continuing their string of early-season road games, Fort Meade traveled on Thursday to historic Charles Head Field in Avon Park to face the Red Devils. Needing a win of any kind, the Miners put together one of their best games so far this year.
Anthony Tucker, D.J. King and Jonathan Camp combined to pitch a five-hitter, while allowing just two runs on three of those hits, plus a wild pitch in the fourth inning. Fortunately, those runs merely tied up the game, as the Miners had actually forged an early 2-0 lead.
The Miner’s first run came on a one-out RBI double from Logan Durrance that scored Jalen Brown from second, following Jalen’s base hit and a Devil wild pitch. The second run resulted from a Trent Spears RBI double which scored Camp, who had reached scoring position on a one-out double.
After the Devils had tied it up in the fourth, the Miners made their move in the visitor sixth. Spears coaxed a one-out walk and stole second. Trenton Gantt then singled Spears to third. A Devil passed ball scored Spears with the go-ahead run and advanced pinch-runner Tobias Culpepper to third after he stole second.
Brown then laced a two-strike, RBI single to score Culpepper and expand the Miner lead, one they would not relinquish. The victory gave Fort Meade its second win so far, and helped bring a smile to Miners Coach Jon Spradlin.
“The biggest thing I can say is that we finally put everything together tonight,” said Spradlin. “Hopefully we can continue with it.”
But the win-based momentum would not last as the Miners traveled to Lakeland Christian for their first Class 3A-District 7 match up with the Vikings.
It wasn’t pretty for Fort Meade, as Viking starter Logan Browning pitched a no-hitter while striking out 16 Miners batters. The only bright spot for Fort Meade was when Spears tarnished Browning’s perfect game by reaching on a throwing error in the Miners fourth.
With the loss, Fort Meade (2-6, 0-1) now looks to regroup and, more than anything, try and get the offense going. The Miners have plenty of speed but must reach base to use it. A little home-cooking could help as the Miners began a seven-game home stand last night by hosting Lake Gibson.
The Miners will get a chance for some payback this coming Friday as they host Lakeland Christian at Miner Field. First pitch is at 7 p.m. After the district clash, the Miners will be hoping for a momentum-building effort at the Winter Haven Blue Devil Classic.
Fort Meade faces off against Haines City in the Classic opener Monday morning at 8 a.m. The rest of the Classic schedule will be determined by wins and losses, but the Miners are guaranteed three games for the week. Fort Meade then returns to home action on March 20 with a district contest against rival McKeel Academy.