After a tough loss in their first-ever postseason home game – the Northwest Florida State College Raiders Baseball Team (32-17) won games two and three to secure tickets to Lakeland and the semifinal.
Doug Martin’s Raiders capped off the comeback by winning game three 14-11 against Polk State College in comeback fashion. Martin and company started well – scoring six runs in the fourth – which were quickly answered in the top of the fifth by the best of Polk State’s entire lineup. Roberto Odor, Polk State’s shortstop, scored twice in the inning – off a home run that started the inning and a single which closed the scoring in the fifth.
The seventh inning was almost as bad as the fifth – the Eagles scored another four runs – to give them an 11-8 lead. But – the Raiders showed grit, patience, and determination at the close and batted runners in off hits from Colby Jones in the eighth and ninth innings and a Blake Cavill home run to seal the deal. Kyle Beaty (5-2) sealed the win with an inning pitched.
Australian Blake Cavill helped turn game three game around for his the raiders against Polk State. He displayed exceptional sportsmanship and skill, impressing the crowd with each swing of his bat.
Colby Jones' clutch hitting propelled the Raiders to a late win against Polk State in their game three matchup.
Beaty earned the win in Sunday's game against Polk State.
Niceville’s college baseball team will head to Lakeland on Friday, May 12, for the next round of their postseason. They will face the College of Central Florida in the FCSAA Division I/NJCAA South Atlantic District Baseball Championships.
The Raiders, currently not in the top 20 teams in NJCAA Baseball but receiving votes in the latest rankings poll, will face off against #2 College of Central Florida (48-6). The Patriots have obviously steamrolled their competition all year – and have dropped just two games since the beginning of April. The only team which has seemed to have their number this year is #15 Santa Fe College – who lost out in their region to the State College of Florida – Manatee-Sarasota in their three-game series.
Should the Raiders win out in Lakeland – they’ll move on to the NJCAA World Series in Tennessee.