The Mosley baseball team has been here before. While it would like to repeat the result of last May’s Region 1-6A championship victory, it doesn’t necessarily want to replicate how it was accomplished.
The Dolphins, 26-3, were en route to Green Cove Springs on Monday morning where 6 p.m. CDT Tuesday they will meet Clay, 21-7, for the 1-5A crown and a Final Four berth at state.
Coach Todd Harless said that because of a four- to five-hour bus ride he wanted to take his ballclub over a day early to get better acclimated. The Dolphins were scheduled to practice at the University of North Florida early Monday afternoon.
Mosley followed the same routine last season, then fell behind 6-0 to Middleburg before a stunning rally produced a region title.
“We were nervous beginning that game; in my opinion we were a much better team but the moment got to us,” Harless said. “I think so far what has happened (in the regional playoffs) has paid off. This is as loose a group of guys as I’ve been around.”
Mosley had to survive a 10-inning gut check against Wakulla in its region opener, then played in front of what likely was the largest baseball crowd in county history when eliminating Rutherford.
Freshman Weston Bizzle, 8-1, who has earned both region victories, will start on the mound. He’ll face a University of Florida signee, and the Blue Devils have a pitcher headed to Georgia Southern who throws in the upper 80s, Harless said.
“The rest are execution guys,” he said. “They sound like the mere image of us, minus the Florida signee.”
Harless said that he tries to prepare a motivational pregame speech at this stage of the season, but didn’t know if he was going to tap into his “making memories” monologue last year at this time.
He does know that if Bizzle struggles on the mound, the implications of a region final probably won’t give him time to work through it.
“Last year in this game Austin Bizzle (Weston’s brother) threw and he’d been our guy,” Harless said. “He went out and struggled and we pulled him in the third inning and were able to come back.
“We’ve got Michael Cullen, Ashton (Rogers) and (Andrew) Deramo should be ready.”
While many Mosley fans might have had high expectations after a state runner-up finish in a higher classification last season, Harless didn’t think his ballclub would gel as quickly as it did.
“I’d be lying if I thought we’d be 26-3,” he said. “I thought we had the potential to get everything together at the end, but that some freshmen would have to play like juniors.
“Realistically I thought we go into the playoff with 16 or 17 wins, and by then they wouldn’t be playing like freshmen anymore. Right now we’ve got a good group, but realistically we’ve got three, really four freshmen — Bizzle, Cullen, Brendon Fox, Peyton Millirons — that are contributing a lot.”
Bo McGuffin leads Mosley regulars with a .450 average, but what stands out about the batting order is that seven players have driven in between 15-22 runs this season.
Half of Connor Green’s 26 hits have been for extra bases and Brady Bell leads with 29 runs scored.