AVON PARK – The Avon Park Red Devils eased past the DeSoto Bulldogs on the diamond by a score of 5-1 on Saturday afternoon at Charles R. Head Field.
The win was Avon Park’s sixth in a row and improved the Red Devils to 14-3 on the season.
In the top of the first, DeSoto’s Mason Ayers singled, stole second, moved to third on a ground out and scored on a single by Logan Adams to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.
Avon Park answered in the bottom of the frame as Dayvon Terry doubled to left-centerfield and Andrew McGuckin followed with a home run over the left-field fence to give the Red Devils a 2-1 lead.
Avon Park extended its lead in the bottom of the fourth inning as McGuckin was hit by a pitch, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Luis Perez base hit to make it 3-1.
Avon Park struck again in the bottom of the fifth as Terry scored on base hit by Matt Tyson to put the Red Devils up 4-1.
Avon Park tacked on its final run in the bottom of the sixth inning as Garrick Rowe hit a grounder up the middle to centerfield for a single, stole second and third base and raced home on a ground out by Terry to give the Red Devils a 5-1 lead.
Avon Park retired DeSoto in the top of the seventh inning to seal the victory. McGuckin earned the win on the mound with four solid innings of work. The Red Devil senior allowed five hits, struck out five and gave up one run. Perez came in relief to finish the game and struck out all three DeSoto batters.
“We had really good team chemistry and played really well,” said Perez. “We found some gaps and came out with the win. When I first got on the mound my arm was a little bit tired but as I got going my arm felt really good. It is upsetting to know that this is my last year playing for Avon Park. We are brothers and will always keep in contact.”
Avon Park is on a roll with six wins in a row and is peaking at the right time.
“I thought Andrew McGuckin pitched really well,” said Avon Park Coach Whit Cornell. “We put up some gems defensively and Luis Perez was able to come in to finish the game. We drove some balls really well, but we have to do better with two strikes and put the ball into play. We have to hit a few more line drives. Overall I think we had a good effort. DeSoto has been playing really well. We feel fortunate to come out with the win. Dayvon Terry got us going in the first inning and Andrew McGuckin had a few big hits. Two of the freshmen that are really progressing are Garrick Rowe and Dawson Bryant. They are doing a lot of good things for us and we are looking forward to seeing them develop. This team is fun to coach, they work hard and have good chemistry. We just have to tighten up a few things and we can make a good run.”
Avon Park hosts Class 5A-District 10 rival McKeel Academy on Thursday with a chance to wrap up the No. 1 seed for the upcoming district tournament.