Santa Fe, Union County baseball teams eye state title

It’s been a record-setting year for the Santa Fe baseball team.

The Raiders (21-2) set the school record for winning percentage in 2021. One of their two losses was in 14 innings against Clay (Green Cove Springs), which nailed down the No. 1 seed in this week’s Class 4A-District 2 tournament with the win.

“Great accomplishment,” said Santa Fe coach Travis Yeckring. “The schedule we played makes what this group has done even more impressive. They have now set the standard for Raider baseball for years to come.” 

Now the challenge is competing in a district tournament that includes the top three teams in the state in Class 4A.

Clay (19-4) is ranked No. 1 in Class 4A by MaxPreps. Santa Fe is second, and Suwannee (Live Oak), the Raiders’ opponent in the district semifinals, is ranked third in the state.

“Extremely talented club with a winning culture,” Yeckring said about the Bulldogs (19-5). “The key for us individually and collectively will be to not change who we are. Stay within ourselves, control our emotions and play to our strengths.” 

Santa Fe has a 0.80 team earned run average, plus a .954 fielding percentage, and beat Suwannee twice during the regular season, including once in extra innings. Suwannee enters with a .339 batting average, including 61 doubles, seven triples, and three home runs. 

Only two teams from each district make the postseason, so one of these three powerhouse teams will be left on the outside looking in. 

The Union County baseball team, which is ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 1A, will host the Class 1A-District 6 tournament.

Pitching and defense have been key ingredients to the Tigers’ success in 2021. Union County (19-3) is batting .305 as a team with a 2.56 team ERA and a .960 fielding percentage.

“We feel like we have a strong defense which keeps us in position to win close games,” said Union County coach Travis Rimes. “Timely hitting has also been key.” 

It’s a close-knit group.

“We have stayed together as a team,” Rimes noted. “We play for each other. The majority of our team has been playing together since Babe Ruth (eight out of the nine regular starters).”

The Tigers will play either Fort White or Branford in Tuesday’s district semifinals, needing a win to punch their ticket to the FHSAA state playoffs.

“Playing at home and having home field advantage is always a plus just knowing how the field plays,” Rimes said. “I think it helps a little with our confidence.”

Baseball District Tournament Schedules (Area teams in bold)

Class 6A-District 2 at Various cities (Highest seed hosts)

Tuesday, April 27 

  • (5) Leon (Tallahassee) at (4) Forest (Ocala), 7 p.m.

  • (6) Columbia (Lake City) at (3) Lincoln (Tallahassee), 7 p.m.

Wednesday, April 28

  • Forest/Leon winner at (1) Chiles (Tallahassee), 7 p.m.

  • Lincoln/Columbia winner at (2) Buchholz (Gainesville), 7 p.m.

Friday, April 30

  • Championship game – Semifinals winners, 7 p.m.

 

Class 5A-District 5 at Vanguard (Ocala)

Monday, April 26

  • (4) Springstead (Spring Hill) vs. (5) Gainesville, 7 p.m.

  • (3) Belleview vs. (6) Lecanto

Tuesday, April 27 

  • (2) Vanguard vs. Belleview/Lecanto winner

  • (1) Lake Minneola vs. Gainesville/Springstead winner

Thursday, April 29

  • Championship game – Semifinals winners, 7 p.m.

 

Class 4A-District 4 at Various Cities (Highest seed hosts)

Monday, April 26

  • (5) Eastside (Gainesville) at (4) Menendez (St. Augustine), 7 p.m.

Tuesday, April 27 

  • (3) Palatka at (2) Atlantic (Port Orange), 7 p.m.

  • Eastside/Menendez winner at (1) North Marion (Citra), 7 p.m.

Friday, April 30

  • Championship game – Semifinals winners, 7 p.m.

 

Class 4A-District 2 at Various cities (Highest seed hosts)

Monday, April 26

  • (5) Ridgeview (Orange Park) at (4) Baker County (Glen St. Mary)

Tuesday, April 27 

  • (3) Suwannee (Live Oak) at (2) Santa Fe (Alachua), 7 p.m.

  • Ridgeview/Baker County winner at (1) Clay (Green Cove Springs), 7 p.m.

Thursday, April 29

  • Championship game – Semifinals winners, 7 p.m.

 

Class 3A-District 3 at Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville)

Monday, April 26

  • (4) Baldwin vs. (5) Bishop Snyder, 4 p.m.

  • (3) P.K. Yonge (Gainesville) vs. (6) Bradford (Starke), 7 p.m.

Tuesday, April 27 

  • (2) Keystone Heights vs. P.K. Yonge/Bradford winner

  • (1) Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) vs. Baldwin/Bishop Snyder winner

Thursday, April 29

  • Championship game – Semifinals winners, 7 p.m.

 

Class 2A-District 2 at St. Francis Catholic Academy (Gainesville)

Monday, April 26

  • (4) Redeemer Christian vs. (5) St. John Lutheran (Ocala)

Tuesday, April 27 

  • (1) Aucilla Christian (Monticello) vs. Redeemer Christian/St. John Lutheran winner

  • (2) Oak Hall School (Gainesville) vs. (3) St. Francis Catholic Academy (Gainesville)

Thursday, April 29

  • Championship game – Semifinals winners, 4 p.m.

Class 1A-District 7 at Newberry

Monday, April 26

  • (4) Chiefland vs. (5) Trenton, 4 p.m.

  • (3) Dixie County (Cross City) vs. (6) Bell, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, April 27 

  • (2) Williston vs. Dixie County/Bell winner, 5 p.m.

  • (1) Newberry vs. Chiefland/Trenton winner, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 29

  • Championship game – Semifinals winners, 7 p.m.

 

Class 1A-District 6 at Union County (Lake Butler)

Monday, April 26

  • (4) Fort White vs. (5) Branford, 5 p.m.

  • (3) Lafayette (Mayo) vs. (6) Hilliard, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 27 

  • (2) Hamilton County vs. Lafayette-Hilliard winner, 5 p.m.

  • (1) Union County vs. Branford-Fort White winner, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 29

  • Championship game – Semifinals winners, 7 p.m.

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