Red-hot North Marion bounces Santa Fe

A North Marion player beats Santa Fe pitcher Caleb Kietzman to the plate to put the Colts ahead 7-0 in the fifth inning on Tuesday.
Photo by C.J. Gish
Photo by C.J. Gish Santa Fe's Cooper Ruppert attempts to tag out a North Marion player at first base in the third inning on Tuesday.

Santa Fe and North Marion (Citra) met a little more than a month ago in what was then a meeting of top five teams in Florida in 4A according to MaxPreps.

But the Colts pounded Santa Fe 13-0 that night in easily the Raiders’ worst game of the season.

On Tuesday night, Santa Fe got North Marion at home in a rematch. But once again the Colts showed why they are a favorite for a 4A state baseball title.

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Photo by C.J. Gish Santa Fe's Ben Thompson watches his third inning hit go foul against North Marion on Tuesday.

Senior starting pitcher Karson Lindsey, who no-hit Santa Fe over five innings in the first meeting, pitched no-hit ball into the sixth inning of this game while adding two hits and two RBI, and senior Cooper Jones hammered his 12th homer of the season as North Marion eased past Santa Fe, 7-2.

"Karson did a fantastic job tonight," North Marion head coach Dale Hall said. "I was very pleased with his efforts. I am sure he's going to be just a little upset he didn't get the complete game but that's just the competitor he is."

Lindsey allowed only two hits over 5.2 innings with four walks and five strikeouts as he improved to 8-0 on the mound. His two-run single to right field in the fourth inning extended the Colts’ lead to 6-0.

But it was Jones who got the Colts on the board in the first inning with a solo shot to straight-away center field off Santa Fe starter Zane Starling. For Jones, it was his seventh homer in the last two weeks and 12th of the season, which puts him among the nation's leaders.

"Cooper Jones is probably one of the hottest hitters in the state," Hall said. "He competes every single time he gets in the box."

North Marion (18-4), who has won 11 games in a row, had 11 hits and at least one base runner in every inning. The Colts are currently ranked No. 2 in 4A by MaxPreps.

For Santa Fe (14-7), the Raiders picked up their two runs in the sixth inning on an RBI double by Dalton Dampier and a sacrifice fly by Kyler Nowling.

Starling picked up the loss on the mound despite eight strikeouts in 3.1 innings.

Photo by C.J. Gish Santa Fe pitcher Zane Starling had eight strikeouts against North Marion on Tuesday.

"I didn't think we pitched that badly," Santa Fe coach Travis Yeckring said. "We had 14 strikeouts, but they are a tough lineup to navigate and when they hit the ball, they hit the ball hard."

Santa Fe travels to Ocala to play Vanguard on Thursday at 6 p.m.

P.K. Yonge 17, Palatka 1

In P.K Yonge’s 4-3 win over Palatka on April 4 in Gainesville, the Blue Wave needed runs in the sixth and seventh innings to pull out the baseball decision.

On Tuesday night, P.K. Yonge made sure it didn’t need any late-inning heroics to defeat the Panthers in Palatka. The Blue Wave (14-7), with the help of two two-run home runs from senior Lane Sparkman, pounded out 12 hits in four innings for a 17-1 win. They scored six runs in the second inning and nine in the fourth in the rout.

Mack Todd (2-1) allowed just two hits and an unearned run in the four-inning run-rule contest over Palatka (7-10).

Xander Sanetz had three (two doubles, single) of the Blue Wave hits to drive in three runs. Luke Sparkman hit two doubles and Nick Roach hit a two-run triple to help PKY snap a three-game losing streak.

P.K. Yonge will next visit Williston at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Photo by C.J. Gish Santa Fe coach Travis Yeckring (black jersey) meets with the Raiders infield in the fourth inning against North Marion on Tuesday.

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