DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — The third time was the charm.
After falling twice to Rutherford in regular season play, the South Walton baseball team got the win when it counted most. The Seahawks shut down the Rams 5-1 in the District 1-5A semifinals at Walton Tuesday afternoon.
“The difference maker today was on the mound,” said South Walton Coach Nick Borthwick.
Aidan Keenan started for the Seahawks and struck out seven and allowed just two hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings for the win.
“He’s got a good curve ball," Borthwick said. "He threw the ball well all day. That’s a big start for him.”
Cade Watson came in and closed it out.
“I’m just proud of our defense,” Borthwick said. “They played with great focus and intensity and made some tough plays.”
In the first inning, Seahawk catcher Drake Roberts picked off a runner at first for one of those big plays. In the second inning, Taylor Collier turned in a web gem with a running catch at second.
At the end of four innings there was no score.
After the Seahawks gave up an unearned run to Rutherford’s Christian Beenerean in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Seahawks went to work in the sixth.
“I told them to get the ball down,” Borthwick said.
The Seahawks put the ball in play and pushed across five runs.
Collier led off with a single, Cole Cartwright reached on a bunt and throwing error and Watson walked to load the bases.
Drake Roberts then hit a grounder to third and the throw went home, but the catcher missed and went scrambling for the ball while two Seahawks scored. Up next Kyle Vogler drilled one down the first baseline for two RBIs. Vogler later scored on a sacrifice by Kia Wilk for a 5-1 game.
“We put pressure on them and they made a couple of mistakes," Borthwick said.
In the last two innings for the Rams, the Seahawks shut them down.
“I’m just proud of the great intensity and great focus by these young men," Borthwick said. "Got to tip your hat to them for competing when the money is on the table.”