After a tough 9-1 loss last Tuesday to 3A-7 baseball leader Lakeland Christian, Fort Meade walloped Santa Fe 7-2 on Friday night, moving past McKeel into third place in the district standings.
The Miners hosted McKeel for a double-header last night with a chance to solidify their seeding for the upcoming district tournament in two weeks. Those games were played too late for Leader deadlines.
As painful as the loss was to LCS, it may prove to be even more painful for the Vikings. Star pitcher/hitter Logan Browning, son of former major league pitcher Tom Browning and a Florida Gator commit, had surrendered a single run on a wild pitch which allowed Malik Brown to race home for an early 1-0 Miner lead.
After mowing down nine Miner hitters, six on strikeouts, Browning faced Fort Meade junior standout D.J. King. On the first pitch, King smashed a hit right back at Browning. The Viking pitcher covered his face in self-defense, with his glove-hand thumb taking the brunt of the hit and incurring a fracture, shelving the Viking star for the season.
Though LCS will miss Browning, number-two pitcher Grant McKown was just as effective, throwing four shutout innings. Fort Meade managed just two hits on the night, both coming from King.
Along with the Browning shot, King beat out a throw from second on pure hustle, demonstrating the kind of play Coach Spradlin would love to see from the entire lineup down the stretch.
“I don’t usually single out a player,” said Spradlin. “But D.J. sets the standard of what we look for in a baseball player.”
Fort Meade would need more than King if they were to break in to the win column Friday night at Santa Fe. They did just that, with seven Miners collecting at least one hit. Jacob O’Neal would lead the way, going a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate and knocking in five runs on the night.
King was the primary beneficiary of O’Neal’s efforts, scoring four times against the Crimson Hawks. Sophomore Glavine Harpe went 2-for-3 with two more RBI, joining his teammates for a barrage of 14 hits and helping gain some revenge from a final-inning loss to these same Hawks two weeks ago in Fort Meade.
Harpe and Devin Danforth combined to hold Santa Fe to just four hits and two runs, when the Hawks scored two to tie it up in the first inning. But from there, Fort Meade continued to pile up the hits and runs to get the win and move into at least third place in the district.
After hosting McKeel last night, Fort Meade welcomes rival Frostproof tomorrow night before hosting Lakeland Christian on Friday. So come on out and enjoy some Miner baseball. You’ll be glad you did!