Melrose falls in North Florida opener
They’ve been there and done that. Now the trick for the Melrose 12-under Babe Ruth All-Stars is to do it again.
They were held to one hit and paid a high price for two walks and a handful of errors in a 3-0 loss to South Daytona in the first round of the North Florida Tournament at the First Federal Sportsplex in Live Oak on Thursday.
Austin Musgrove pitched a one-hitter for Melrose, striking out seven and walking two. Nothing came of the only hit, a one-out single in the fifth, but the two batters he walked both scored, as did another who reached on an error.
It leaves Melrose in the unenviable position of facing host Live Oak in an elimination game today at 9 a.m. A win there would set up a 1 p.m. game with the Julington Creek-Bilbon loser.
The All-Stars didn’t lose their optimism despite the disappointing loss.
“I think we’ll be all right,” said assistant coach Patrick White of a team two days removed from winning the Small State tournament in Fort White. “We’ve been in this situation, losing the first game, four times before and come back to the championship game each time.”
Melrose managed only one hit, Austin Smith’s leadoff double in the second inning, and couldn’t get him home. Tallon Campbell walked and stole his way to third in the first inning, only to be stranded and Melrose had runners at second and third in the sixth before South Daytona handled Musgrove’s sharp grounder to third for the final out.
“When you only get one hit, it’s rough, but both pitchers threw strikes,” White said.
South Daytona turned a walk and a badly botched pickoff attempt into a run in the first, then got two more runs out of a walk, two errors and a sacrifice fly in the fourth.