Local Sports

Devils blast Bulldogs

AVON PARK - Continuing its solid early-season play, Avon Park jumped on Frostproof early and never looked back as the Red Devils rolled to a 10-0 win over the Bulldogs Friday night at Head Field.

The Class 4A-District 9 victory improved Avon Park to 6-1 overall and a perfect 2-0 in district play, while the loss dropped Frostproof 1-4, 1-2.

"Real proud of Daniel Simons," said Red Devil baseball coach Whit Cornell. "To come in and pitch in a big district game. He went out and challenged their hitters, every time it looked like he was starting to struggle a little bit, he bounced right back and went right back at them. Really proud of how he pitched to give our team a chance to win tonight."

So dominant was Simons that after giving up a leadoff hit in the first inning to Frostproof's Juan Flores, he would not allow another hit until there was two out in the sixth inning.

From there, Simons worked out of a bases-loaded situation to complete the six inning, three-hit shutout performance for the win.

The Bulldog's starting pitcher, JaDarius Hawthorne, also started out strong as he kept the Red Devils scoreless over the first two innings.

That would be the last inning that Avon Park would finish with a goose egg as it scored in the next four innings.

Cody Pearlman led off the third inning with a walk and advanced to third on a bunt single by Luis Martinez down the third-base line.

Alfred Brown hit into a fielder's choice to the pitcher, who threw to second to force out Martinez and kept Pearlman at third.

Brown stole second base, as Frostproof made the throw to second on a failed attempt to get Brown, Pearlman scored on a delayed steal to give Avon Park a 1-0 lead.

Tyrone Perry followed with a single into right field to drive in Brown as Avon Park held a 2-0 lead after three innings.

The Red Devils scored twice more in the fourth inning when JC Cobb smoked a one-out double into right-center field. Cobb advanced to third on a single by Trey Frazier, who stole second base to put two runners in scoring position with one out.

Cobb scored on a ground ball to the shortstop by Pearlman and Frazier reached home on a single into left field by Martinez, increasing the Red Devil lead to 4-0 after four innings.

Perry put his stamp on the game as he led off the fifth inning with a home run down the right-field line as Avon Park's lead grew to 5-0.

The Red Devils loaded the bases with one out and Pearlman walked to force in a run and Martinez singled to drive in another as the fifth inning concluded with the Red Devils holding a 7-0 lead.

Avon Park finished the game in the sixth inning by scoring three more runs. Brown sparked the offense with a leadoff triple just right of the center-field wall and scored on a wild pitch.

Perry walked and reached second on a wild pitch. He scored on a single by Kyle Thompson to bring the Red Devils to within one of ending the game.

Thompson reached second on another wild pitch to put him in scoring position. This brought Alex Gomez to the plate.

Gomez hit a ground ball up the middle. As it came off the bat, Thompson headed towards third base.

The ball made its way past the Bulldog's shortstop and second baseman and rolled into the outfield grass as the center fielder raced up to glove it.

Cornell, coaching at third base, gave Thompson the go sign and Thompson made the turn at third towards home. Anticipation for a play at the plate quickly became a mute point as the center field bobbled the ball and Thompson scored the game-ending run uncontested for the 10-0 mercy-rule win.

"What is good about this group is that there is a lot of competition on varsity," said Cornell. "There are guys that came off the bench tonight and had big hits. Kyle Thompson comes in to drive in the ninth run and scores the tenth run. We got six outfielders that are all playing well, they are practicing and competing. Even our JV team, we can scrimmage against them and those guys can play right with us. It has been a real good year for our program and that has been the strength of our year so far."

Avon Park continues district play with a road game at McKeel Academy Tuesday and the Red Devils host the Mulberry Panthers on Friday.