NFC baseball upsets St. Johns Country Day for region title, Lincoln softball moves on to title game

·5 min read
Gwendolen McGinnis pitches in 5A Regional Semifinals against Gulf Breeze, May 17, 2022
Gwendolen McGinnis pitches in 5A Regional Semifinals against Gulf Breeze, May 17, 2022

Heading into Tuesday's regional games, the Big Bend baseball and softball field has been slimmed down to just five teams. North Florida Christian remains the only baseball team alive while Lincoln, Aucilla Christian, Florida High, and Wakulla were the four softball teams left.

Despite only two teams coming out of Tuesday with their state championship hopes still alive, the two wins picked up were huge. North Florida Christian upset St. Johns Country Day for the regional title while Lincoln topped Gulf Breeze to move onto the championship game. Here's how it all went down.

Baseball

2A-1: North Florida Christian 4, St. Johns Country Day 1

The last baseball team still alive in the Big Bend, North Florida Christian, traveled out to

Orange Park to take on St. Johns Country Day. The Spartans have been dominant this season, sitting at 23-3 coming into the regional championship matchup and ranked as the No. 5 team overall in the state.

St. Johns Country Day hadn't lost to a team in its own class in nearly a year, until Tuesday night. A three-run third inning and a home run from junior Traylon Ray in the fifth inning gave NFC everything it needed for the upset, defeating St. Johns Country Day, 4-1, to win the 2A-1 regional title and punch its ticket to Fort Myers for state semifinals.

Even with Spartans senior pitcher Finn Howell throwing 14 strikes, NFC found a way to run up the pitcher's county and see him exit the game in the final inning. The bats were alive for the Eagles, seeing NFC collect six hits on the night. Ray and junior Jedd Jones both brought in two runs.

On the mound, sophomore Garrett Workman pitched the bulk of the game, allowing one run on three hits and striking out four. Senior Tucker Narkinsky played the final two batters, walking one.

North Florida Christian will kick off state semifinals play on Monday, May 23 at Hammond Stadium at Lee County Sports Complex in Fort Myers. They will face either Out-of-Door Academy, Miami Christian or Foundation Academy/Orangewood Christian.

Softball

2A-1: University Christian 11, Aucilla Christian 0

After upsetting North Florida Christian in regional semifinals, the Warriors were in Jacksonville to take on No. 2 University Christian. Three runs in the first and four in the sixth made up the bulk of the Christians' offense, seeing them end the Warriors' season, 11-0.

Despite not picking up any hits on the night, Aucilla found its way on base six times off of walks. Eighth-grader Lauren Davis led that effort with two walks. Sophomore Emma Vickers pitched the entire game, allowing 11 runs on 10 hits and striking out three over 5.1 innings.

Aucilla Christian ends its season at 16-6 and graduates one senior: Isabella Gray.

3A-1: Baldwin 12, Florida High 0

The Seminoles' last meeting against the Indians ended in a walk-off in the seventh inning. Its rematch in Baldwin in regional semifinals was a different story. Nine runs scored in the third and fourth inning combined proved to be too much as the Indians topped Florida High, 12-0, ending the Seminoles' season.

Florida High got one hit off of Indians pitcher Piper Young, off of senior Camryn Miller. The Seminoles also found their way on base six times off of walk, with senior Stephanie Oaks drawing two. Juniors Carly Allen and Breana Barnes split time in the circle, seeing them combine for 12 runs allowed on 12 hits and striking out three.

Florida High ends its season at an impressive 21-4 and graduates four seniors: Rileigh Spinosa, Oakes, and Miller.

4A-1: Clay 3, Wakulla 1

The chaos that is Class 4A Region 1 has continued into this week as Clay, the eight seed, pulled off another upset to keep its season alive. The Blue Devils defeated Wakulla, 3-1, to move onto the regional championship.

The War Eagles end their season at 15-10 and graduate four seniors: Victoria Dichio, Alysa Berryman, Chrislynn Marlow, and Brooklyn O'Neal.

5A-1: Lincoln 2, Gulf Breeze 0

One more win until Clermont for Lincoln softball (17-8).

On Tuesday, the Trojans had Gulf Breeze (16-12) in town for the 5A Regional Semifinals.

The Trojans eliminated Gulf Breeze after a 2-0 victory led by two runs by Olivia McCroan.

After one inning, the Trojans held a 1-0 lead after an RBI double by Gwendolen McGinnis which led to McCroan's initial run.

McCroan also scored another run in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Gulf Breeze relied on bunting in which the Trojans had to stay alert over the duration of the game to get stops and led them to their 11th shutout on the season.

"When you got a good pitcher like Gwen (McGinnis), it's easy for the defense to sit back on their heels," Waltman said. "We had a phenomenal night on defense. Every player out there was ready for the ball whenever it came to them."

To put Gulf Breeze away, the Trojans secured three quick outs in the top of the seventh inning.

"This was a full team win for us," Waltman said. "Everybody on the lineup stepped up tonight and did their job when they were called upon."

Middleburg (17-11) is next on the docket for the Trojans in the regional final.

The two will meet on Thursday, May 19 at Lincoln;

"We feel good going into Friday," Waltman said. "It's the same game plan; staying focused and intense the whole game."

A Trojan win over Middleburg will send them to Clermont for the 5A State Semifinals.

"This is what we've been working for all season," Waltman said. "The kids are peaking at the right time and everything is coming together."

Gerald Thomas III covers FAMU athletics for the Tallahassee Democrat. Contact him via email at gdthomas@gannett.com or on Twitter @3peatgee.

Jack Williams covers prep sports for Tallahassee Democrat. Contact him via email at jwilliams@tallahassee.com or on Twitter @jackgwilliams.

This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: NFC baseball punches ticket to semi-state, Lincoln softball advances to title game