Ricky Clark’s first varsity home run came at an opportune moment.
With Jupiter down a run to rival Dwyer in the bottom of the ninth inning (reminder: high school games go seven innings), the senior stepped up to the plate with the tying run on first. Clark got one strike on him before he uncorked a swing and sent the pitch from Danny Lynch over the right-field wall, giving the Warriors a 6-5 walk-off win on Tuesday.
“When I was a kid, I practiced walk-off home runs and stuff,” Clark said. “For it to actually happen is just a crazy experience.”
Clark’s first home run came when it looked like Dwyer (6-3) had the advantage. The Panthers took a 5-4 lead in the top of the ninth inning on an RBI single by shortstop Kyle Moore, which scored Lynch. Dwyer had the chance to score more in the inning, but right fielder Jack Keiser, who had a pair of RBIs and a run scored on Tuesday, was caught stealing.
Jupiter (4-2) was only in the position to win the game because of clutch pitching by Chuck Fishbaugh. The 6-foot-4 submarine pitcher came in to start the seventh inning with the game tied and walked the first three batters he saw.
Warriors coach Andy Mook visited Fishbaugh on the mound and elected to keep him in the game.
“I was just trying to calm everything down,” Mook said.
Fishbaugh didn’t have an easy task in front of him — he had to face the middle of Dwyer’s lineup to get out of the inning. He struck out Keiser, then got Moore to ground into an inning-ending double play.
“Bases loaded, no outs,” Mook said, “typically, you’re not going to win the game. And we were able to escape that.”
Tuesday’s early-season game won’t matter for playoff consideration, as the two north county schools are in different districts and classes. But the two teams are not separated by much distance, and they’re both angling for a return to Fort Myers after they both lost in the state semifinals last year.
“It’s a big rival,” Mook said. “Dwyer and Jupiter has always been a big (rivalry) … especially now that they’ve been in the mix with going to states and being district champion and kind of going at it. And all these guys play with each other, live very close, so there’s that little competition.”
In other games Tuesday:
Santaluces 13, Boynton Beach 3 (5): Miguel Peralta (3-0) gave up no earned runs and struck out six in four innings, A.J. Orrico was 2-for-4 with three runs, two RBIs, two stolen bases and a double, and Angel Diaz went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs as the Chiefs (7-1) handled the Tigers in Lantana.
Suncoast 2, Oxbridge 1: Jacob Baughman gave up no earned runs and struck out four in three innings, and Nathaniel Brodsky was 2-for-3 with an RBI as the Chargers got past the ThunderWolves in Riviera Beach.