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PSJHS baseball splits classics

Tim Croft
tcroft@starfl.com
The Star

A weekend of preseason classics was entirely a mixed bag for the Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School baseball team.

Playing a mix of newcomers to varsity baseball and several of the experienced veterans manning new positions, the Tiger Sharks split a pair of games, losing 5-1 to Liberty County on Friday night and beating North Bay Haven 5-4 on Saturday.

Wewahitchka also played both teams on the same days.

“We saw some good things and we saw some things we need to work on,” said Port St. Joe coach Ashley Summerlin. “It’s nice to have a mix of young kids with older ones that can show them the direction we want to go.

“But our inexperience is likely to be seen early in the season.”

The victory was particularly impressive as the Tiger Sharks overcame an early 3-0 deficit by scoring a single run in each of the last five innings.

The winning run came following a sequence that started with a walk, a steal and a hit by John Austin Gee with the run scoring on a throwing error at third base.

Port St. Joe finished with seven hits.

The Liberty County loss was a product, Summerlin said, of the inexperience of his players, not only those playing their first varsity game, but also with veterans playing new positions on the left side of the infield and at first base.

“Really, what we did all weekend, our inexperience really showed,” Summerlin said. “That was our Achilles heel. We were kind of tentative at times.

“I thought we competed well, but we left some opportunities out there are on base and gave them too many free bases.”

Port St. Joe had more errors, four, than hits, three, while Gee was holding Liberty County to six hits.

“He took the loss but I thought he pitched really well,” Summerlin said.

Port St. Joe opened the regular season Tuesday at Tallahassee Florida High and will be at Wewahitchka Friday.

The Tiger Sharks are scheduled to have their home opener against Arnold on Tuesday.