The Clay High Blue Devils baseball team got a 1-0 victory at home Tuesday night against the Nease Panthers.
The lone run of the game was scored in the bottom of the first inning. The Clay offense started out with a double from leadoff hitter Cole Carnell. Chase Haggard was next up and bunted to advance Carnell. However, Nease made a throwing error trying to get Haggard out which allowed Carnell to score from second base to give Haggard an RBI.
Both offenses were kept off the scoreboard for the rest of the game due to dominant pitching and defense from both teams. Jake Larson started on the mound for the Panthers and pitched the entire game. Larson’s stat line for the game was six innings pitched, four strikeouts, six hits, no walks and one run given up. Outside of the lone throwing error, the Nease defense played a clean game and finished with a .955 fielding percentage.
Easton McMahan started on the mound for the Blue Devils and shut down the Panthers' offense. McMahan finished the game with six and two-thirds innings pitched, striking out eight with two walks and six hits. Josh Rouw pitched in relief for McMahan with two outs and runners on first and second. Rouw only threw two pitches before catcher Chase Haggard threw a back pick to first base for the out. Clay had a perfect fielding percentage with 29 total chances.
With the win, Clay High has a 19-5 record with only one game left to play in the 2023 FHSAA regular season. That final game of the regular season will be a Senior Night home game Thursday night against the 15-7 Keystone Indians.
With the playoffs starting next week, the one-seed Clay High will play the four-seed Middleburg Broncos next Tuesday at home in the 5A District 3 Semi-Finals. Despite the Broncos having a 3-14 record, Clay High barely beat Middleburg at home earlier this season, 6-5. The winner will play the winner of Ridgeview versus Orange Park next Thursday for the FHSAA 5A District 3 Championship.