Top Clay County high school baseball teams prepare for playoffs

Tony Salazar
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With the regular season wrapping up next week, baseball teams in the county prepare for the playoffs with hopes of making a run at the state title in the final weeks of the school year.

Three teams in the county have a good chance of making a significant impact in the playoffs based on their play during the regular season.

3. Oakleaf Knights

Under first-year coach Matt Carter, Oakleaf has had a strong season with a 14-8 record. Carter previously coached for the Baldwin Indians. Oakleaf is led offensively by Leo Diaz and Devin Dizon. Diaz and Dizon both have batting averages over .350 and combine for 35 RBIs and four home runs. Sophomore Jordan Clarke is the leader of the pitching rotation. With over 37 innings pitched, Clarke leads the team with a 4-2 record and a 1.69 ERA. Oakleaf has the fourth-best record in their district.

2. Clay High Blue Devils

Clay High has put together a strong season with a 13-8 record under head coach Josh Persinger. The current roster has a bunch of talent on offense and defense. Clay High is led by two D1 prospects in Max Williams and Brandon Adams. Williams is committed to the University of Alabama, and Adams is committed to the University of North Florida. Clay High has not made the district title game since their run in 2018 when they made a final four appearance. Clay High is explosive offensively, with six players combining for 18 home runs. Adams and Eli Roberts both have an ERA under 1.00. Clay High could rally together and make a deep run in the playoffs and a potential state title appearance. Clay High has the second-best record in its district.

  1. St. Johns Country Day Spartans

St. Johns is the best team in the county under head coach Tom Lucas. St. Johns has a 17-2 record and is undefeated at home. St. Johns is led by seniors Bradley Hodges, Finn Howell, and Jordan Taylor who are all committed to D1 programs. Hodges is committed to the University of Virginia, Howell is committed to the University of North Florida Ospreys, and Taylor is committed to Florida State University. All three currently have a combined batting average of .465. Hodges and Howell also dominate on the mound. Hodges has an ERA of 0.94, and Howell has an ERA of 0.30, according to St. Johns won the district and regional championship in 2021. MaxPreps currently ranks St. Johns as the 14th best team in the nation and has the best record in their district.
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I am a graduate of the University of North Florida with a major in communication with a focus in journalism and a minor in sports management.

Green Cove Springs, FL

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