Strong start fuels Vikings' victory over Broward

Capital City Bank Classic continues today and Sunday

The St. Johns River State College baseball team got away with easing up Friday night.

Powered by Bubba Sangster’s three-run homer, the Vikings struck for five runs in the first inning, then coasted home to a 7-1 win over winless Broward College to cap the second day of the Capital City Bank Classic at Tindall Field.

In earlier games, Northwest Florida State defeated Florence-Darlington Tech of South Carolina 10-6 and Miami Dade 7-2 and Gulf Coast State blanked Broward 6-0. The tournament continues today with four games, including SJR State against Miami Dade at 12:30 p.m. Sunday’s schedule calls for two games, including SJR State against Florence-Darlington at 1 p.m.

Elijah Gill held Broward to three hits over five innings, striking out nine before Austin Elliott finished with a couple of scoreless innings, and the Vikings (8-1) turned three hits and two walks into a five-run first. Yet St. Johns coach Ross Jones was happier with his team in an extra-inning defeat to Northwest Florida on Thursday than he was in victory on Friday.

“Tonight, we struggled with the exception of a couple of guys,” he said. “Thursday, we competed our tails off against a guy (Thomas Farr) who’s going to be a high draft pick. Tonight, we had really good at-bats early – Bubba Sangster hit a three-run bomb off the FloArts building – then we took our foot off the gas.

“We figured six-run lead (after two innings), Elijah Gill on the mound... Then in the fifth, we’re one swing away from being in a one-run game.”

The Seahawks (0-6) loaded the bases with nobody out in the fifth, an inning in which Gill allowed one hit and his only two walks and the Vikings committed two errors. An unearned run crossed before Gill (2-0) escaped with a couple of strikeouts.

A.J. Mathis singled to get SJR State going in the first. Langston Provitt and Francis Villaman walked, Villaman with one out, and Michael Rosario followed with a two-run single. Then came Sangster’s home run to make it 5-0.

The Vikings got another run in the second and Provitt hit a solo shot in the sixth. The team finished with seven hits in seven innings.

“This was the first time in nine games I thought some guys took the night off,” Jones said. “A.J. Mathis competed his tail off. He crushed three balls and had one hit to show for it. (Gill) had really good stuff. He was in command except that one inning.”

Villaman finished 2-3. The Vikings’ other hits were the Sangster and Provitt home runs and singles by Mathis, Rosario and Sandon Witt.

Palatka Daily News

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