Putnam County Classic chance for some to go out winners
Eliminated before reaching their district finals and thus denied the opportunity to extend their seasons in the state playoffs, Putnam County baseball players had little choice but to deal with disappointment.
The county’s best will get to extend their seasons by a single game with tonight’s inaugural Putnam County Classic in the Azalea Bowl at 6:30. Half the participants will get to go out winners and all of them could at least have some fun.
Two 10-man teams were drafted following recent all-county voting. The teams include the 16 players voted all county plus one honorable mention pick from each of the four county clubs.
“We have Peniel kids, Crescent City kids, Palatka kids and Interlachen kids on each team,” said Palatka coach Alan Rick, who will coach the “home” team along with Interlachen counterpart Barry Williams. Crescent City’s Tim Ross and Peniel Baptist Academy’s Terry Goodwin will manage the “away” team.
“We’ve been playing with the idea,” said Rick, a 2002 PHS grad and onetime minor leaguer in the Chicago Cubs organization. “I played in three (such games) when I was a senior and thought some kids may never get to play in one. Seniors – if they lose their last game, they don’t want to go out like that.
“We’re going to give it a test run. Tim Ross came up with a great idea. Maybe next year, we’ll add a skills competition.”
Tonight’s home team will include Clay Sipprell (Palatka), Layton DeLoach (Palatka), Austin Spedden (Peniel), Kenyon Dodge (Peniel), Kris Shrouder (Interlachen), Joey Bacco (Interlachen), Austin Robinson (Interlachen), Will Owens (Crescent City), Dylan Cummings (Crescent City) and Hank Hamling (Crescent City).
The away roster has Tre Keen (Palatka), Neven McBay (Palatka), Hunter Keen (Palatka), Matt Sharp (Palatka), Jamie Crouse (Palatka), Austin Wallace (Peniel), Nathan Bass (Interlachen), Cory Goff (Crescent City), Dylan Hutchinson (Crescent City) and Bradley Lagace (Crescent City).
They’ll play seven innings and all 10 players will bat, including the one not in the game defensively. Pitchers will be limited to two innings or 45 pitches.
Admission is $5 for persons over 16. Under 16 will be admitted free and Babe Ruth teams are invited. A concession stand will be open.