Bobcats cruise to regional quarterfinal win

Buchholz's Aidan Kastensmidt pitched six scoreless innings in a Class 6A-Region 1 Quarterfinal win over New Smyrna Beach on Tuesday.
Buchholz's Aidan Kastensmidt pitched six scoreless innings in a Class 6A-Region 1 Quarterfinal win over New Smyrna Beach on Tuesday.
Photo by C.J. Gish

There was no letdown for the Buchholz baseball team from the emotional high of last week’s Class 6A-District 3 tournament.

Last Tuesday, the Bobcats rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the bottom of the sixth to beat Oakleaf (Orange Park), 7-3, in the semifinals and they shutout Fleming Island (Orange Park), 6-0, in Friday’s district title game.

On Tuesday night at Bobcat Park, top seed Buchholz jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one inning and never looked back in a 9-0 win against No. 8 seed New Smyrna Beach in an FHSAA Class 6A-Region 1 Quarterfinal.

Become A Member

Mainstreet does not have a paywall, but pavement-pounding journalism is not free. Join your neighbors who make this vital work possible.

“We were jacked,” said sophomore Aidan Kastensmidt, who started the game on the mound. “We were excited. We were ready to get after it.”

Kastensmidt set the tone early by striking out the side in the top of the first inning.

Buchholz's Anthony Wilkie gets a New Smyrna Beach player out at first base after right fielder J.J. Gardner caught a pop fly and threw to Wilkie to complete a double play in a Class 6A-Region 1 Quarterfinal win on Tuesday.
Photo by C.J. Gish Buchholz’s Anthony Wilkie gets a New Smyrna Beach player out at first base after right fielder J.J. Gardner caught a pop fly and threw to Wilkie to complete a double play in a Class 6A-Region 1 Quarterfinal win on Tuesday.

“I just wanted to start it off, go out there and give up no runs and then give us the momentum going into the bottom of the first inning,” Kastensmidt said.

In the bottom of the first inning, the Bobcats (21-8) would plate the only runs they would need.

With one out, junior Kai So reached on an error at second base, followed by a single to right field by senior Noah Hayse.

Buchholz's Justin Williams slides safely into third base in a Class 6A-Region 1 Quarterfinal win over New Smyrna Beach on Tuesday.
Photo by C.J. Gish Buchholz’s Justin Williams slides safely into third base in a Class 6A-Region 1 Quarterfinal win over New Smyrna Beach on Tuesday.

After Barracudas’ starting pitcher Mattox Meeks struck out Jacksonville University commit J.J. Gardner for the second out, Kastensmidt (2-for-3, 2 RBI, DBL) got the pitch he wanted and doubled to left center field.

“It was a slider,” Kastensmidt said. “I was looking for it.”

Kastensmidt’s 10th double of the season drove in So and courtesy runner Justin Williams for a 2-0 lead.

“Man, Aidan was huge coming out there with three strikeouts in the first inning, hitting spots, competing, I mean that really got us going,” said Buchholz coach Ron Brooks. “Then a two-out hit from Aidan in the bottom of the first which scores two. The energy was good, the atmosphere was great. You just felt a really good momentum from the get-go with our team tonight and it was really good to see.”

In the bottom of the second, Clemson signee Anthony Wilkie (2-for-3, DBL, 2 RBI, 2 RS) doubled to left center field to start the inning and scored on an error for a 3-0 lead.

The Barracudas (13-12) threatened in the third, fourth and sixth innings with two runners on, but each time Kastensmidt worked out of the jam.

In the sixth, Meeks singled to lead off the inning and went to third on a double down the left field line by first baseman Landyn Abernethy.

However, Kastensmidt struck out the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 hitters to end the inning.

Buchholz's Blake Brewer slides safely into second base on Tuesday in a Class 6A-Region 1 Quarterfinal win over New Smyrna Beach.
Photo by C.J. Gish Buchholz’s Blake Brewer slides safely into second base on Tuesday in a Class 6A-Region 1 Quarterfinal win over New Smyrna Beach.

“He made some big pitches there,” Brooks said. “One thing about Aidan is he’s steady. You can’t tell whether he’s up or down but he’s a competitor and he competes. I think you saw that from him tonight.”

He tossed six innings and allowed six hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts to pick up his fifth win of the season.

Buchholz's Conner Brown gets treatment for his left elbow after being hit by a pitch on Tuesday in a Class 6A-Region 1 Quarterfinal win over New Smyrna Beach.
Photo by C.J. Gish Buchholz’s Conner Brown gets treatment for his left elbow after being hit by a pitch on Tuesday in a Class 6A-Region 1 Quarterfinal win over New Smyrna Beach.

“And there were some 3-0, 3-1 counts where he battled back,” Brooks said. “We knew tonight that if we kept the walks down that we would have a chance with Aidan on the mound to keep their scoring low, make routine plays, throw strikes, and offensively get some big hits. That’s how you win baseball games.”

The Bobcats put the game away with a five-run sixth inning.

Gardner (1-for-4, DBL, 2 RBI, RS) doubled to right center field to drive in a pair, and junior Wyatt Clarke pitched a scoreless seventh to preserve the Bobcats’ second straight shutout.

Buchholz will host Pace at 7 p.m. on Friday. The No. 4 seed Patriots (20-6) eliminated No. 5 Fleming Island, 3-2, in the other regional quarterfinal.

TUESDAY, MAY 7 – FHSAA BASEBALL SCORES

Class 6A-Region 1 Quarterfinals

1 Buchholz 9, 8 New Smyrna Beach 0

Class 5A-Region 1

7 Beachside (St. Johns) 2, 2 Columbia (Lake City) 0

Class 1A-Region 3 Semifinals

2 Union County (Lake Butler) 3, 3 Liberty County (Bristol) 2 (10)

Class 1A-Region 4 Semifinals

1 Newberry 5, 4 Williston 0

3 Trenton 8, 2 Chiefland 0

Enjoying our local sports coverage? Get Mike Ridaught's twice weekly sports newsletter in your inbox.
Sports Newsletter Form
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments