GREEN COVE SPRINGS | They’re not done playing baseball just yet.
Clay used a big first inning and another complete game by Andy Toelken to knock off nationally ranked Lynn Haven Mosley 8-3 in the Region 1-5A final on Tuesday night.
Next stop, JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, where the Blue Devils (22-7) will face Rockledge on May 21. The Rock upset Archbishop McCarthy, the nation’s second-ranked team, 2-1 in nine innings.
With its coach retiring after the season and the most decorated senior class in program history on its way out, the Blue Devils have made it no secret that this is their year to wrap things up. The core of this Clay lineup reached the state semifinals in 2012 but lost in extra innings to Ponte Vedra.
“We’re in the same spot. It feels exactly the same,” said Toelken, whose third consecutive complete game of the state playoffs gave him an area-best 10 wins. “This season has felt so much like .”
The Blue Devils battered Mosley (26-4), the nation’s fifth-ranked team, from the outset. Clay chased freshman starter Weston Bizzle five batters into the first inning, drawing a leadoff walk and then watching its next three batters get hit by pitches.
“We felt all along, they could be a team that we could really light it up on,” Clay coach Rob Thompson said. “The book on them was they liked to go fastball away and then get you on the breaking ball in. That was fine for us. We do not move. We will not move out of the way. Sure enough, that’s what happened.”
Toelken followed with a triple into the right-field corner that cleared the bases. By the time Mosley escaped a nine-batter first inning, Clay had a 5-1 lead and never looked back. Hunter Alexander belted a two-run homer to left-center in the bottom of the fourth to cap Clay’s scoring.
Creekside is headed back to the state semifinals. The Knights went on the road and knocked off Pensacola Escambia 6-0 on Tuesday night. Creekside (26-4) will face Mater Academy on May 21 in Fort Myers. The Knights posted their second shutout of the state playoffs.
Matt Weidenbach pitched a gem, a two-hit, nine-strikeout effort that took just 80 pitches.
Both hits were in the infield.
"He was absolutely electric tonight," Creekside coach Luke Marabell said. "It feels great. Obviously, I've been doing this for awhile, and we know how hard it is to get there [state semifinals]. But we want to keep this train rolling."