The Clay High Blue Devils are set to face the Suwannee Bulldogs after they defeated the Santa Fe Raiders on Wednesday night in a 10-inning nail-biter, 12-9.
Clay High got out to an early lead. In the first inning with two outs, Jayden Long hit a double to deep center field, scoring pinch-runner Connor Chapman. Clay High followed up with four more runs in the second inning. Logan Wilson scored two runs on a single to right field. Long hit another double, scoring two more runs for Clay High.
UNF commit Brandon Adams started on the mound for Clay High. He pitched three and two-thirds innings and held Santa Fe to no runs. Long took Adams' spot on the mound.
Clay High’s early lead was threatened in the bottom of the fifth inning. With the bases loaded, Santa Fe scored their first run after Long walked the batter. Long pitched an inning and two-thirds. Eli Roberts came into the game for Clay High. Matthew Geelhoed hit a triple for Santa Fe, bringing the score to a one-run lead for Clay High.
Brandon Adams reappeared on the mound for Clay High, pitching the sixth and seventh innings. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Santa Fe tied the game with two doubles.
Alabama commit Max Williams hit a solo home run for Clay High in the top of the eighth inning. Brady Greene hit a line drive to left field that scored Josh Rouw.
Aidan Hampton came in during the eighth inning in relief for Adams on the mound. Clay High’s two-run lead turned into a tie for a second time. Santa Fe scored their first run of the inning on a passed ball. They scored their second run of the inning on back-to-back fly balls that Clay High failed to catch.
The ninth inning went by with no runs scored for either team. However, Clay High added five more runs in the 10th inning. The inning started off with a pop-fly by Williams that fell between three Santa Fe players. He reached second base on the play. Wilson then bunted to advance Williams to third. However, an errant throw to first base resulted in Williams scoring. With the bases loaded, Greene scored Wilson on a drop-third strike. Alec Burke scored three more runs for Clay High with a double.
Clay High held Santa Fe to two runs in the bottom of the 10th inning. Hampton earned the win on the mound. Through the highs and lows of the game, Hampton had faith in his teammates that they would finish on top.
“I knew my boys were going to dig deep and we were going to get through it,” said Hampton.
With the win over Santa Fe, Clay High is set to play Suwannee on Saturday in the regional semifinal. Suwannee's record is 22-4 and beat Clay High earlier in the season 14-2, according to MaxPreps.