District titles were on the line for seven area baseball teams on Thursday night and a total of five schools came away with a trophy.
It marked the second straight district title for top seeded Santa Fe (Alachua) who edged visiting No. 2 seed Dunnellon, 3-1.
The Raiders (20-6), scored first on a bases-loaded walk to Kyler Nowling in the first inning and Dunnellon tied the game in the top of the second, before Santa Fe scored two runs on a third-inning error.
“Our goal when we start every year is to win a district championship and I’m very proud of our guys for the accomplishment,” Santa Fe coach Travis Yeckring said. “We didn’t play our best tonight but we competed and we battled. The only thing that matters this time of year is did you win or did you lose. We’re certainly going to celebrate this one then come Monday start preparing for our next goal”
Union County, the No. 2 seed in 1A-District 6, defeated No. 4 seed Hilliard, 12-2, in five innings to win the championship.
Ethan Moody tossed a 4-hitter and Tre’Von Lee, Ayden Elixson, and Jay Cohen each had multiple hits for the Tigers (13-11), who will host a regional semifinal on Tuesday.
“I thought tonight was a great team win,” said Union County coach Travis Rimes. “This is a great group of young men. They played as one unit tonight. Everything came together for us.”
The Tigers entered tournament play with a 3-game losing streak but they are now 2-0 in postseason play.
“We have played good baseball all year but it would come down to little minor things and we would lose by one or two runs,” Rimes said. “We had a really tough schedule this year and we have been challenged the whole season. Every game has been a grind and I believe that was the difference this week in tournament play.”
Other district champions included Columbia (Lake City), Suwannee (Live Oak), Santa Fe (Alachua), and defending 1A state champion Newberry.
Meanwhile, Oak Hall School had its 9-game winning streak snapped with a 7-4 loss at home to St. Joseph Academy (St. Augustine) in the 2A-District 4 title game.
The top-seeded Eagles (14-3) took an early 1-0 lead on a ground out by Jack Kuzmicki, scoring Harrison Beach for a 1-0 lead.
It was a pitching duel between Troy Freeman of Oak Hall and Mark Avelo of No. 2 seed St. Joseph (10-16), as the score remained 1-0 until the bottom of the 5th inning.
Beach had a 2-RBI triple and Kuzmicki added an RBI double for a 4-0 lead.
However, St. Joseph scored seven runs in the top of the sixth to stun the Eagles, who will hope for an at-large berth in next week’s regional tournament.
Thursday, May 5 – District championship scores (teams covered by Mainstreet in bold)
No. 1 Chiles (Tallahassee) 10, No. 2 Buchholz (Gainesville) 0
No. 1 Columbia (Lake City) 11, No. 2 St. Augustine 2
No. 1 Suwannee (Live Oak) 8, No. 2 Wakulla (Crawfordville) 5
No. 1 Santa Fe (Alachua) 3, No. 2 Dunnellon 1
No. 2 St. Joseph Academy (St. Augustine) 7, No. 1 Oak Hall (Gainesville) 4
No. 2 Union County (Lake Butler) 12, No. 4 Hilliard 2 (5)
No. 1 Newberry 7, No. 3 Dixie County (Cross City) 6