Seahawks look ahead to 4A-1 district tournament

JJ and Adam Bleday work towards return to pro ball.
Published: May. 1, 2022 at 9:29 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -The South Walton baseball team sits at 14-9-1 heading into the 4A-1 District tournament where they are set to host 12-13 West Florida on Tuesday night for the semifinal.

This tournament will be more satellite-style with Bay hosting Pensacola for a play-in game on Monday and the winner of that travelling to the Gavlak Complex for the district semifinal.

South Walton baseball coach, Nick Borthwick saying in the days leading up, the team will be doing some light work.

“We want the players to just get some swings and feeling confident, getting the barrel, keeping arms in shape. Want our pitchers to long toss and throw light bull pens just to stay fresh. May do some pitcher on hitter. Just getting them ready to play in that big playoff game on Tuesday.”

Depending on how the 4A-1 tournament plays out, along with other district tournaments, the Seahawks are unsure if they have a secure spot in the region without a District Championship.

“We’re not sure, so we’re playing it like we need to win the district championship to get in,” said Coach Borthwick. “District champions are guaranteed in. Right now, it looks like we are sitting around seventh, eighth in the point standings in the region, so we’re not counting on that. Theoretically, if the lower seed upsets a high seed in the district championship, it could bump some of the higher seeded teams down, and it could bump us out. We are playing to win the district championship this week.”

Coach Borthwick adding he is hoping to keep his team focused on one game at a time.

“West Florida is a good ball team. We’re not overlooking them. They can really hit, and we’ve been scouting them a little bit. Every time we step on the field, we can play really good or really bad, so we’ve got to be ready to play our best baseball, and you can’t take a game for granted or an opponent for granted. I’ve learned that there’s no routine play in high school baseball, so you’ve just got to go out there and compete. Take it one day at a time right now.”

As the post season begins, the coach has a message for his players.

“You’ve got to win the next pitch. That’s something we say every day. Control what we can control. Control our attitude and our effort and concentration and keep getting ready to play our best baseball here at the end of the season, which the whole season, you’re building up to that point. We haven’t always played good ball throughout the ladder part of the year, but we have shown some flashes of being able to put some hits together and generate some offense. Our pitchers have done a good job keeping people off-balance, so we are going to keep on getting them prepared to pitch, so we’re excited.”

The first pitch for the West Florida at South Walton game is set for 6 p.m.

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