Overcoming a few early mental mistakes, Coach Joe Bishop’s boys baseball team got the season off to a solid start by outlasting the Northside Christian Academy 14-4. The visitors from Starke jumped in the lead with two runs in the first, thanks mostly to two infield hits that barely traveled 80 feet combined. The Sharks countered by batting around in their half , keyed by Joey Stewart’s two-run double. Stewart, Cedar Key’s most experienced pitcher, allowed only one more run in the next two innings, using his sharp tailing fastball to fan seven of the nine outs he recorded. Dillon Allen finished with two strong innings, wriggling out of a bases-loaded-one-out jam in the top of the fifth to set up the Sharks’ winning four run rally in the bottom of the inning. Stewart had two doubles to lead the offense, as did surprise batting star Mikey Beckham, playing in his first game. Trace Epperson sealed the win with a sharp two run single in the bottom of the fifth. Veteran catcher Nate Brinkman handled the two pitchers well, framing the pitches with great skill, making it easier for the umpires to call strikes at crucial junctures.
The Sharks travel to Ocala Tuesday for what promises to be their first real test of the fledgling season. It’s hard to tell too much from this first game -against an overmatched team. The contest dragged at times –mainly because of the opposing hurler’s inability to throw strikes with any regularity. “There ain’t no way it’s still the fifth inning,” one Shark player observed as the game moved past the two hour mark, accurately expressing the sentiments of most Shark players and fans. But a win is a win, and this team has definite promise. Featuring a nice blend of experienced players with younger, less experienced ones, the Sharks baseball nine will be competitive and engaging, certainly worth watching for anyone who enjoys watching youngsters playing ball just for the joy of it. So come on out to the field across from the Dollar General for the next game. Be sure to bring a chair.