The Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School baseball team enters the final weeks of the regular season in a position to secure the top seed for the District 4-1A tournament.
Then again, given the strength of the teams at the top of the district, the Tiger Sharks could drop all the way to the fourth seed before it is all over.
Port St. Joe (12-4 overall) extended its winning streak to eight games over the past week, but faces a tough slate over the next week with a schedule that will provide a good measuring stick.
“We’ve still got a long ways to go,” said Port St. Joe coach Ashley Summerlin. “We still are in control of our destiny. We can still get the number one seed and that is where we want to be.
“But I think this district is the toughest (Class 1A) district in the state. If we continue to get better we will get in there and compete. But we could end up number one or we could end up all the way down at number four.”
At this juncture, the season has become something of a record-setter, though numbers mean little.
“As far as we can tell, going back to 2008, this is the longest winning streak for a Port St. Joe baseball team,” Summerlin said. “But that means absolutely nothing if you want to keep getting better.
“We just have to get back to work.”
The schedule will force them.
The Tiger Sharks host Vernon 7 p.m. ET Friday for Little League Night, during which the community’s little league players will be recognized.
Saturday comes a trip to powerhouse Mosley followed by a Tuesday trip to Bay High.
Then it’s Bozeman, Rutherford, Franklin County, Bozeman again, North Bay Haven and Arnold, all by May 1, to end the regular season.
“It is good to jump in the middle of it,” Summerlin said. “Mosley and Bay will get us ready for Bozeman, which is always a quality team.
“If we do what we need to do against Bozeman and Franklin, we should be in good shape in the district. It will be a fun couple of weeks.”
Port St. Joe 4, Liberty County 3
In a tense district battle, the Tiger Sharks answered two Liberty County runs in the top of the seventh with the game-winner in the bottom of the frame.
Josh Butts started and pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs, just one earned, while striking out four.
Liberty County scored an early unearned run and Port St. Joe answered with three runs and the game remained 3-1 into the seventh inning.
Liberty County started the seventh walk, base hit, fielder’s choice bunt, hit, strikeout and two walks, plating two runs to tie the score.
Caleb Butts led off the bottom of the inning with a double.
The next two batters struck out and with a 1-1 count on the next hitter, Caleb stole third, the throw getting past the third-baseman and allowing Caleb to score with the winning run.
“We’ll take it,” Summerlin said. “That’s a good ballclub. They have some dynamic pitching. That was a good win.”
The Tiger Sharks had six hits, Caden Turrell with a triple, single and RBI and Caleb Butts doubling, being hit by a pitch and scoring two runs.
Port St. Joe 5, Wewahitchka 0
In the second contest between the county rivals in a week, the Tiger Sharks received a sterner test at Gator Field.
Jacob Hopper started and earned the win, pitching six innings, allowing four hits and striking three.
Caleb Butts and John Austin Gee finished up in relief.
Kelvin Griffin was 3 for 4 and scored, Jaden Grantland singled and Turrell had a single and drove in three runs.
“We did a good job of competing,” Summerlin said.