By PATRICK CASEY
A two run home run by Adam Richards in the bottom of the third inning and a solid pitching performance by Taylor Collier helped the South Walton baseball team to a 5-2 home victory over Jay on April 5 in a District 3, Class A contest.
The Seahawks, who are 7-0 in district play, need only a road win at Jay or victories at Baker and Freeport to grab the top seed for the District 3 tournament that will be played at Northwest Florida State College the week of May 1.
South Walton took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning as Richards and Aiden Keenan had singles with Collier and Kyle Vogler drawing walks to force in a run before Austin Garofalo grounded out to third to end the inning.
Richards home run made it 3-0 in the bottom of the third inning and cost Jay their centerfielder as clean-up hitter Matthew Saylor injured his ribs while crashing into the wall trying to snare the blast, forcing him from the contest.
Jay got a run closer on a solo home run by Dillon Riley in the fifth inning only to have the Seahawks score twice in the bottom of the frame as Richards walked and Keenan singled to put two men on. Hunter Crawley then delivered a shot to rightfield that was misplayed into an error, scoring both runners on base for a 5-1 lead.
Jay got a run back in the top of the sixth as an error put Dallin Edwards on base to start the inning with teammate Reid Kelley driving him in with a single later in the frame.
Collier ran into trouble in the top of the seventh inning after walking Jackson Flowers with one out leading to coach Nick Borthwick going to the bullpen to bring in Kai Wilk.
Wilk was shaky at first, walking Andrew Tubb and allowing a single to Riley to load the bases but third baseman Aiden Keenan got a force play at the plate on a tough grounder down the line for the second out with Edwards grounding to second to end the game.
Jay had five errors in the contest which did not help out their pitcher, Logan Dobson, as he gave up five hits, walked three and struck out four while taking the loss as the Royals fell to 7-5 overall and 4-2 in district play.
Richards had two of the Seahawks five hits, scoring three runs and driving in two.
Collier struck out six batters while giving up just two hits to go with two walks.
The Seahawks are 12-4 on the year after defeating Pensacola Christian 10-0 on Monday afternoon following a 4-0 loss at Niceville on Friday night.
The Seahawks play at Jay on Thursday before returning home to host Holmes County on Friday night.
By PATRICK CASEY