Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Baseball Notes

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Baseball Notes

Article excerpt

Byline: Chase Goodbread, Times-Union sports writer

COMING ON STRONG

Two teams that started the season in a rut are playing much better of late, both from District 4-4A: Ridgeview and Bishop Kenny.

Ridgeview opened the season 1-3 but has won seven-of-10 games since, and against impressive competition.

"We're swinging the bats better, and that's made our difference," said Panthers coach Don Suriano. "Our early losses were to Daytona Lopez, Fernandina and Englewood, so we've played good teams."

Ridgeview went on a five-game win streak, beating a 10-4 Orange Park team and state-ranked University Christian, the only loss of the season for UC lefty Mitchell Shepherd. Suriano called a recent comeback win over Clay the signature victory for the 3-year-old Ridgeview program.

"We went single, single, triple in the seventh to win it," Suriano said. "It was a big lift."

Bishop Kenny began the season under .500 but has rebounded for an 8-4 record and has picked the right games to win: 4-4A games. BK is 6-0 in the district, which means it will get a first-round bye in next month's tournament, barring a complete collapse in its remaining district games.

"We're starting to play like Bishop Kenny again," said Crusaders coach Bob West. "The first part of the season, it was just a circus out there with errors and so forth."

BK recently got a no-hitter from left-hander Jeremy Papelbon and has recovered from some early-season injuries.

"With all they lost from last year, this might be Bob's best coaching job since he's been there," Suriano said. "Getting one of the two byes in the tournament is huge, and Kenny's about got one of them wrapped up. We're going to have to win four of our last five district games to have a chance at the other bye."

TOURNEY WORTH WAIT

Rains this week have postponed Parker's tournament, which will not start until tomorrow. …

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