Union County baseball team still undefeated

The Union County baseball team is on a roll to start the 2021 season.

The Tigers are 10-0 entering Friday night’s home game against Branford.

“We don’t talk about the record but take one game at a time,” said Union County coach Travis Rimes, who noted his team has been in the weight room and has worked hard since the summer to prepare for the season. “The coaches continuously preach to work hard and remain disciplined on and off the field.”

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A total of eight starters returned from last year’s team, which was 7-2 when the season ended prematurely due to COVID-19.

Among the starters back are St. Johns River State College signee Jake O’Steen, who led the team in stolen bases in 2020, future Tallahassee Community College left-handed pitcher Braxton Dukes, and catcher Paden Clyatt, who led the team in home runs and RBI last season.

Despite the quick start, Rimes knows there’s still work to be done.

“The big picture ahead requires the guys to play as a team rather than focusing on individual stats,” Rimes said. “Everyone on this team plays a big part in some way.”

The Tigers have had some close calls.

They beat Lafayette (Mayo), 1-0, and had to rally from a 2-0 deficit in the 6th inning to beat Fort White, 4-2, in their past two games.

They also edged Baldwin, 4-3, and Baker County (Glen St. Mary), 7-6, to open the season.

“We have caught some breaks,” said Rimes, who is in his third season with the Tigers. “The kids’ discipline and never quit attitudes have allowed us to stay in those games to give us the opportunity to be victorious in those moments.”

Union County’s game at Bradford (Starke) on Thursday was postponed due to weather. The two schools are working on a reschedule date.

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