Mother Nature didn’t completely get her way last night as a few area teams advanced in Wednesday’s FHSAA playoffs.
But for some, area softball and baseball teams were affected by weather, forcing the rescheduling of games for Thursday.
In Alachua, the No. 5 seed Santa Fe softball team had its Class 3A-Region 2 Quarterfinal against No. 4 Crystal River (17-9) postponed until noon on Thursday. The Raiders (15-9) are hosting despite not being the higher seed thanks to winning the 3A-District 5 title last week.
The winner will play in the regional semifinals on Tuesday, May 16, against top seed Hernando (Brooksville), which eliminated Trinity Catholic (Ocala), 4-0, on Wednesday night.
In the 3A-Region 1 Quarterfinals, No. 7 seed Keystone Heights had its season come to an end with a 15-1 loss in five innings against No. 2 seed Florida High (Tallahassee). The Indians, who won the 3A-District 3 title this season, end their season at 8-19.
That was the only softball action scheduled for Wednesday, but it will be a busy schedule on Thursday as the Class 1A regional semifinals get underway.
Fort White, which upset Branford, 7-0, to win the 1A-District 6 title, will host the Buccaneers (22-4) in Thursday’s 1A-Region 3 Semifinal.
The Bucs dropped to 22-4 with the loss while the Indians, who were in the final four last year, improved to 10-9.
The Indians are the No. 4 seed in the region but the game is at Fort White since they were district champions. The winner will play either Hilliard or Aucilla Christian (Monticello) in Tuesday’s regional final.
In 1A-Region 4, top seed Williston (25-2) will host No. 4 seed Newberry (15-8), while No. 3 seed Trenton (16-8) will travel to No. 2 seed Dixie County (Cross City) for a rematch. The host Bears (19-5) defeated the Tigers, 4-3, in nine innings last Thursday to win the 1A-District 7 title.
Columbia (Lake City) is also in action Thursday.
The No. 7 seed Tigers (16-7), who lost to Ridgeview (Orange Park), 2-0, in the 5A-District 2 championship game, travel to No. 2 seed Deltona, which is ranked fifth in Class 5A by MaxPreps.
All Thursday regional games are at 7 p.m. unless noted otherwise.
Buchholz pounds Gulf Breeze after weather delay
Buchholz and Gulf Breeze were determined to get their Region 1-6A quarterfinal baseball game on Wednesday night despite a two-hour weather delay.
The Bobcats are glad they did.
Buchholz never trailed and pounded Gulf Breeze, 10-2, at Bobcat Park for their first playoff win since 2015.
The game started at 9 p.m. after a two-hour lightning delay. There was talk about playing on Thursday, but both coaches wanted to play on Wednesday night.
“They (Gulf Breeze) have a five-hour trip there and back, and we couldn’t keep asking them to come back,” Buchholz coach Ron Brooks said.
The game started under a steady rain which lasted the first three innings.
Gulf Breeze (16-10) got two runners on with one out in the top of the first against Buchholz starting pitcher Anthony Wilkie. But Wilkie retired the next two batters to get out of the jam, then added an RBI on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning as Buchholz took a 2-0 lead.
“Getting out of the jam in the first inning was key,” Brooks said. “It allowed us to get out to an early lead and we took advantage of our opportunities all night.”
Buchholz (20-6) broke the game open with a four-run third to extend the lead to 6-0. Wilkie drove in another run with an RBI single for a 3-0 advantage, then sophomore Cedaris Smith followed with a two-run triple off the high wall in center field that just missed being a home run.
J.J. Gardner followed with an RBI single for a 6-0 lead and the rout was on.
Gulf Breeze got on the board in the top of the fourth on an RBI single by starting pitcher Parker Gransee.
But Bobcats added another run in the fourth on a run-scoring groundout by junior Cooper Collins to make it 7-1.
Buchholz scored their final three runs in the fifth inning as Kai So and Kyle Brewer drove in runs and pinch-runner Austin Middleton scored on a passed ball.
Wilkie picked up the win, going five innings allowing only six hits and two runs and five strikeouts.
Meanwhile, leadoff hitter Donny Hiebert was 3-for-4 with two runs scored.
Buchholz, the No. 2 seed in Region 1-6A, will now host third-seeded Mosley (Lynn Haven) on Saturday at 7 p.m. Mosley rallied with two runs in the bottom of the seventh to edge Fleming Island (Orange Park), 6-5.
Class 1A baseball recap
In the Class 1A baseball state playoffs, Union County (Lake Butler) held off Madison County, 6-5, in a Class 1A-Region 3 Semifinal in Lake Butler on Wednesday. The visiting Cowboys (15-9) had the tying and go-ahead run on base in the top of the seventh inning.
The Tigers (18-8) will travel to Lafayette (Mayo) on Saturday. The host Hornets (20-4), who mercy-ruled Wakulla Christian School, 11-1, in the other regional semifinal, are ranked No. 1 in Class 1A by MaxPreps while Union County is ranked third. It will be a rematch of the District 6-1A championship game that Lafayette won, 9-6.
Meanwhile, both Class 1A-Region 4 Semifinals were postponed due to weather.
Top seed Newberry will host No. 4 seed Williston Thursday at 4 p.m., while No. 2 Trenton will host No. 3 seed Chiefland in the other regional semifinal. The winners will play each other for a spot in the final four in Saturday’s regional final.
Softball results – Wednesday, May 10
Class 4A-Region 1 Quarterfinals
2 Florida High (Tallahassee) 15, 7 Keystone Heights 1 (5)
Class 3A-Region 2 Quarterfinals
4 Crystal River at 5 Santa Fe (Alachua) – postponed to Thursday at noon
Thursday, May 11
Class 1A-Region 3 Semifinals
1 Branford at 4 Fort White
Class 1A-Region 4 Semifinals
4 Newberry at 1 Williston
3 Trenton at 2 Dixie County (Cross City
Baseball results – Wednesday, May 10
Class 6A-Region 1 Quarterfinals
2 Buchholz 10, 7 Gulf Breeze 2
Class 1A-Region 3 Semifinals
2 Union County (Lake Butler) 6, 3 Madison County 5
Class 1A-Region 4 Semifinals
4 Williston at 1 Newberry – postponed to Thursday at 4 p.m.
3 Chiefland at 2 Trenton – postponed to Thursday at 7 p.m.
Friday, May 12
Class 2A-Region 1 Semifinals
3 Oak Hall at 2 North Florida Christian (Tallahassee), 4 p.m.
Class 5A-Region 1 Semifinals
3 Lincoln (Tallahassee) at 2 Columbia (Lake City)
Saturday, May 13
Regional 6A Semifinals 6A and 1A Finals, TBD