Ridaught: We’re talkin’ baseball down on Mainstreet

Baseball in glove

Daylight Saving Time has begun, which really benefits one high school baseball program in particular because Oak Hall School doesn’t have lights on its field.

Playing under the lights is special, but I also enjoy the matinee-type games. And I also like the idea that a 4:15 p.m. first pitch means a late night off.

We have two Oak Hall games scheduled as part of our audio broadcasts online. But we didn’t schedule them because of the time, we scheduled them because of the teams.

The P.K. Yonge at Oak Hall game on Friday, March 24, and the Trenton at Oak Hall game on Friday, April 21, will be broadcast ‘live’ online (audio only) at MainstreetDailyNews.com. Looking at the matchup two weeks into the season, both should be competitive home games for the Eagles.

The Blue Wave (5-3), who compete in Class 3A-District 4, just had a 5-game winning streak snapped at 4A Eastside. Meanwhile, the Class 1A-District 7 Tigers are off to an 8-0 start.

The host Eagles (2A-District 4) had no seniors last year, and all nine starters returned in 2022-23. Currently, Oak Hall is 5-1. They are off this week for spring break and will host Riverside Christian (Trenton) on Monday, March 20, at 4:15 p.m.

Those two baseball games are a part of a 13-game broadcast schedule this spring. Technically, 14 games to include last week’s debut baseball broadcast between Santa Fe (Alachua) and 4A state semifinalist Suwannee (Live Oak) on March 7. It’s the first of two baseball regular season games that we will broadcast for the Raiders.

Santa Fe (7-1) travels to 2021 4A state runner-up North Marion (5-2) on Tuesday night (6:30 p.m.) for an Alachua County vs. Marion County showdown. Marty Pallman and Alex Washburn will have the call beginning at 6:15 p.m. Plus, Marty will have a recap of the game on MainstreetDailyNews.com.

Then on Thursday, Marty and I will head to Lake City where the Columbia Tigers (7-2), who advanced to last year’s Class 5A final four, host Valdosta (GA) in a Florida vs. Georgia showdowns. Valdosta defeated Columbia, 3-0, last Thursday. I’ll have a recap of that one on our website on Thursday night.

Other games that highlight the broadcast schedule include Buchholz (4-1) at Columbia, the city showdown between GHS and Buchholz in April, and our regular season finale on Thursday, April 27, as GHS hosts Newberry.

Plus, we sprinkled in a couple of softball broadcasts. We’ll be featuring some of these teams on our weekly radio show, “The Prep Zone,” which airs from 7-8 p.m. every Wednesday night on 106.9 FM.

Here is a closer look at our 2023 spring broadcast schedule on Mainstreet. Coverage of all games begins 15 minutes prior to first pitch.

Tuesday, March 14 – Santa Fe (Alachua) at North Marion (Citra), 6:30 p.m.

An Alachua County vs. Marion County showdown. The visiting Raiders have won three of the last four in the series, including an 8-4 win last March. Santa Fe enters the third week of the regular season with a 7-1 record, but they will travel to Fleming Island (Orange Park) for a 1:30 p.m. afternoon game to start off spring break. This is the first of two meetings between the two teams. The Colts (5-2) will travel to Santa Fe on Tuesday, April 18.

Thursday, March 16 – Valdosta (GA) at Columbia (Lake City), 6 p.m.

A Florida vs. Georgia showdown on the diamond. The visiting Class 7A Wildcats (8-5) defeated the Tigers, 3-0, last Thursday, snapping Columbia’s 7-game winning streak. The Tigers (7-2), who were held to just four hits, have the talent to make another run to the state semifinals.

Tuesday, March 21 – Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) at Buchholz, 6 p.m.

Jacksonville University commit Garrett Corbett and University of North Florida commit Jack Newman lead the tradition-rich Crusaders. The host Bobcats (4-1) “have a strong pitching staff and a very athletic lineup,” according to head coach Ron Brooks, who enters his 13th season as head coach of the Bobcats. Bishop Kenny won last year’s meeting, 6-0, in Jacksonville.

Friday, March 24 – P.K. Yonge at Oak Hall School, 4:15 p.m.

The visiting Blue Wave (5-3) just had a 5-game winning streak snapped. The Eagles’ only loss so far was a 6-4 setback at The Villages, which made the 3A final four last year. But the thing that makes this game the most interesting is what happened in their first meeting. Oak Hall won at P.K. Yonge, 18-16, on Feb. 21.

Monday, March 27 – Williston at GHS (SOFTBALL), 7 p.m.

Williston, which landed three players on the All Area first team last year, is currently on an 11-game winning streak. Senior Livie Davis (.533), 8th-grader Luna Asencion (.480), and senior Karley Jerrels (.438) lead an offense that bats .372 with 15 home runs. GHS (2-4) has bounced back from an 0-4 start to win its last two. Replacing two hitters that had batting averages over .400 (Parris Wiggs and Jayla Clark) and replacing a pitcher that pitched every game last season (Kyra Hornsby), has been a challenge early for the Hurricanes.

Tuesday, March 28 – Fleming Island at Buchholz, 6 p.m.

A Class 6A-District 3 showdown from Gainesville. The visiting Golden Eagles (6-1) already have wins against Bolles (Jacksonville) and 6A regional semifinalist Spruce Creek (Port Orange) this season. This is the first meeting between the teams in six years. Junior P/1B Anthony Wilkie (Clemson commit), junior C Noah Hayse (UCF commit), junior Inf Cooper Collins (Davidson Commit), and senior OF Donny Hiebert (FSU football signee) lead the Bobcats.

Tuesday, April 4 – Buchholz at Columbia (Lake City), 7 p.m.

Columbia is ranked second in the all-classification regional rankings. That is based on their finish last season, the returning players this season, and the three key transfers (Josh Fernald, Carston Palmer, and FSU football commit Camdon Frier) from Suwannee (Live Oak). Buchholz and Columbia have split the 2-game series in each of the past two seasons.

Thursday, April 13 – Oak Hall at GHS, 6:30 p.m.

GHS (2-6) has struggled under new head coach Adrian Ramos, dropping its last four games. However, this was just a 1-run game a few weeks ago. The Eagles rallied past the Hurricanes, 8-7, with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on Feb. 24 at Oak Hall. The Hurricanes look to even the 2-game series. 

Friday, April 14 – Williston at Santa Fe (SOFTBALL), 7 p.m.

Gene Findley enters his 16th season as head coach of the host Raiders. Findley said he has “a young program this year but if they all buy in they will be successful.” The visiting Red Devils are looking for the sweep following a 6-1 win at home against the Raiders on Feb. 24.

Wednesday, April 19 – Buchholz at GHS, 7 p.m.

Some games are just meant to be on the schedule, regardless of records. This city showdown has gone the way of the black and gold for the past 11 years. Buchholz has won seven in a row in the series and 16 of the last 19 games. The Hurricanes get the home game first in this year’s 2-game series, with the two rivals to play at Buchholz on 4/21.

Friday, April 21 – Trenton at Oak Hall, 4:15 p.m.

The visiting Class 1A Tigers are off to an 8-0 start thanks to an offense which is batting .344 and is averaging 9.75 runs per game. This will be the second of two meetings. Trenton will host Oak Hall on Friday, April 7, at 4:15 p.m.

Monday, April 24 – Oakleaf (Orange Park) at Buchholz, 6 p.m.

Another Class 6A-District 3 showdown from Gainesville. Both teams are ranked top 10 in the state in Class 6A by MaxPreps. The visiting Knights (7-0), who are currently unbeaten, are ranked sixth. Buchholz is ranked at No. 4 in 6A and 18th overall in Florida by MaxPreps.

Thursday, April 27 – Newberry at GHS, 7 p.m.

The visiting Panthers were Class 1A state champions two years ago but were upset by Chiefland, 4-3, in last year’s regional semifinals. Newberry improved to 4-2 on the season with a 3-1 win at home against the Hurricanes last Thursday.

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