GREEN COVE SPRINGS — There was no miracle comeback this time.
A year after reaching the Class 6A Final Four by rallying from a six-run deficit, the Dolphins couldn’t recover from an early collapse and lost 8-3 to Clay on Tuesday in the Region 1-5A baseball championship game.
Mosley saw its season end 26-4. Clay takes a 22-7 record in a 5A state semifinal game May 21 in Fort Myers.
The Dolphins had ridden the right arm of freshman Weston Bizzle to consecutive region triumphs over Wakulla and Rutherford prior to meeting the Blue Devils.
On Tuesday night, he simply couldn’t locate the plate and Mosley faced an immediate 5-1 deficit.
“I felt bad for Bizzle,” Dolphins coach Todd Harless said. “His curveball, for some reason he was hitting guys. It’s what you do when you’re overly excited.
“It was just one of those nights you don’t have it. We were able to get freshman Michael Cullen into the game and he got some experience.”
Ben Peters pitched shutout innings in the fifth and sixth innings.
Bizzle hit three batters and walked one in the first while allowing just one hit. He was relieved by Cullen as Clay ultimately scored five runs. The Blue Devils added a single run in the second and two more in the third on a home run by Florida signee Hunter Alexander.
“He had a broken bone in his face two weeks ago,” Harless said of Alexander. “This was his first game back.”
Mosley couldn’t answer against Clay starter Andy Toelken, who pitched a complete game despite struggling early.
The Dolphins opened the scoring in the first as Brady Bell and Bo McGuffin singled, and Bell took third on a long fly ball to right-center field by Clay Causey. Bell scored on Connor Greene’s safety squeeze bunt. Brendon Fox followed with a single.
“Sean Maddox then hit a shot their guy snared or we could have had a couple more runs,” Harless said.
The Blue Devils answered with five runs in the bottom half, but Mosley again hit Toelken hard in the second inning. A two-run single by Jimmy Nolan halved the deficit to 5-3.
Clay scored once in the bottom of the second and Alexander’s homer in the third restored its five-run lead. It was scoreless after that.
“Late in the game we were taking some strikes to get some baserunners on. We kind of got out of our game,” Harless said. “(Toelken) got better as the game wore on.”
The abrupt ending to their season came as Mosley followed a 28-win season with 26 victories.
“We wound up seven innings away from the Final Four and were ranked as high as fifth in the country,” Harless said.
“Our seniors made it comfortable enough for our freshmen to be theirselves, and the guys that were freshmen absolutely contributed. That bodes well for us in the future. We’re losing some key guys, but we have some key guys coming back.”