Fort Caroline ousts Melrose Babe Ruth from state tourney
The lack of hitting or a clutch hit finally caught up to the Melrose Babe Ruth 12-and-under Baseball All-Star team this weekend at the Live Oak Sports Complex during the North Florida 12-U state sectional tournament.
Melrose won back-to-back games in the losers bracket after being put there Thursday by South Daytona. It beat host Suwannee on Friday, then after postponed from finishing by rain Friday night, Melrose eliminated Julington Creek, 4-2, Saturday morning.
But after that, Melrose’s hits stopped coming and the District 5 and Small State tournament champions had their season end with a 6-1 loss against Fort Caroline of Jacksonville.
“You can’t win on one run unless Austin Musgrove or Aiden Screen are on the mound holding the other team down,” Melrose assistant coach Patrick White said. “And we ended up not having them because they were playing for another team in a tournament up in Cooperstown (N.Y.) this weekend.”
Austin Smith did his best to keep things close, but ultimately, Fort Caroline broke a close game open by scoring two runs in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth.
The only run Melrose mustered came on a passed ball that scored Smith. Smith had two hits, while Sammy Wacha had one hit for all three hits Melrose delivered.
“These kids ended up winning District 5 and Small State titles and no one can take that away from them,” White said. “I think we got as far as we were going to get for this tournament. We’re just proud of the kids and what they accomplished.”