Santa Fe’s Zane Starling shuts out North Marion

It’s becoming a common theme for the Santa Fe (Alachua) baseball team.

Get a runner on base, move the runner over, and get the runner home.

And with sophomore Zane Starling on the mound, the Raiders didn’t need much offense in a 5-0 win against visiting North Marion (Citra) in a match-up of Class 4A top 10 teams.

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Santa Fe, which is ranked second in 4A by MaxPreps, took advantage of pitching and defense to sweep the 2-game series against the No. 9-ranked Colts (14-8).

Starling got a double play in the first inning and struck out the side in the second inning. He only threw 67 pitches and allowed just three hits with seven strikeouts and no walks.

“My defense worked really hard behind me tonight,” Starling said. “It wasn’t just my effort. They helped me a lot. They got a bunch of ground balls and they made the plays.”

In the bottom of the second, it was small ball at its finest.

Junior Devan Mitchum led off with a single, stole second, went to third on a sacrifice by senior Ryan Brown, and scored the first run of the game on a wild pitch by Colts’ starter Wyatt Campbell, a Lipscomb signee.

“That’s what we do,” said Santa Fe coach Travis Yeckring. “We’re going to throw strikes, we’ve got an athletic defense at all nine spots, and we just scrapped. It’s enough for us to win if we get four or five runs.”

They added four runs on just two hits in the bottom of the third inning to take a commanding 5-0 lead.

Mitchum walked with the bases loaded, and a couple of batters later sophomore Dalton Dampier delivered a 2-RBI single to center field to help Santa Fe win its fourth straight game.

Starling (5-0) retired the side in order in the final inning, including two more strikeouts.

The Raiders, who improved to 19-2, will host Chiefland on Wednesday. First pitch is at 7 p.m.

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