Fighting through the flu bug and quality programs in larger classifications, an inexperienced Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School baseball team opened the regular season splitting the two games.
The Tiger Sharks traveled to Tallahassee Florida High to open the season, dropping a 6-5 decision without two key starters, Caden Turrell and Kelvin Griffin.
Four pitchers allowed just five hits, though the Tiger Sharks issued eight walks.
“We kind of showed our youth at times,” said Port St. Joe coach Ashley Summerlin, noting two players who had never been in a varsity game were hitting at the top of the lineup.
After opening an early 2-0 lead, Port St. Joe fell behind 6-2 before rallying for three runs in the seventh inning, a strikeout with the tying run at second base ended the rally.
“Our kids showed fight against a quality ball club,” Summerlin said. “That was good to see.”
The Tiger Sharks had seven hits; Josh Odom with two hits and two RBIs and John Austin Gee with two hits and an RBI.
A scheduled game against Wewahitchka last Friday had to be re-scheduled to late March due to the number of players at both schools down with the flu.
Monday, Panama City Beach Arnold paid a visit and Port St. Joe won 3-2.
The Tiger Sharks had just two hits against Arnold’s five, allowing just three walks.
The hits came at the right time with the same player on base.
Turrell got on base three times via walk and scored all three times.
“We were able to get the hits at the right time and the stolen bases as the right time,” Summerlin said. “Caden was our table-setter every time we scored a run.”
Summerlin also noted the 3 2/3 innings of relief pitcher Carter Dorstch provided.
“He grew up that day,” Summerlin said. “To come away with a split against two very good teams was nice to see and nice for the kids.”
The Tiger Sharks are at Franklin County Friday and host Bay Tuesday with junior varsity at 5 p.m. followed by varsity at 7 p.m. ET.