Terry Parker (13-13) used a five-run seventh-inning rally to stun Ponte Vedra (17-11) in a Region 1-6A quarterfinal.

Blake Rogers, in the not too distant future, will be putting out fires instead of fanning the flames.

At present, Rogers and the Terry Parker baseball team have games to play. Rogers' three-run single in the top of the seventh inning helped the Braves rally to beat host Ponte Vedra 7-5 in a Region 1-6A quarterfinal Wednesday night.

The Braves advance to Saturday's regional semifinal to face Paxon in a rematch of the District 3-6A tournament final.

Terry Parker (13-13) was down to its final out. Down 5-2 heading into the seventh, the Braves' hopes were not completely extinguished because they produced a double and three walks to load the bases with their catcher, and captain, striding to the plate.

"It's an incredible feeling," said Rogers, who plans to become a firefighter after graduation. "I hit the ball with two strikes. I knew I had to put the bat on the ball."

Rogers' fly ball to right turned Ponte Vedra's 5-3 advantage into a 6-5 deficit. Blake Jones then followed with an RBI single to provide the visitors an insurance run. By the time Devin Stevens struck out looking in his second at-bat of the seventh inning, the home supporters at Shark Park were astonished at the way the school from Arlington arose from the threat of elimination.

The word Ponte Vedra coach Tom Stanton used to describe the setback was shocking.

Stanton said both teams earned their way into the playoffs, but the Braves' win was a tough one for his players to stomach.

"We had some things we probably could have cleaned up; but, it could have been cleaned up (and the result) would have been the same," Stanton said. "I'm not a fortune teller. I have been in these spots. I feel bad for these kids."

Stanton said baseball is a euphemism for life in that neither are always fair. In both there are factors beyond one's control that can impact a person's future.

On the diamond, that was the Braves' defensive alignment. Ponte Vedra hit the ball hard throughout the night, but those balls found their way into the gloves of Braves defenders.

Ponte Vedra scored its first run in the bottom of the third courtesy of three consecutive walks and an RBI single from senior catcher Mason McLeod.

The Sharks took the lead in the fifth inning through RBI singles from seniors Carter Page and Tony Roca. As was the case all game long, the hardest hit ball of the inning, a liner from Alex Ortiz, found the glove of a Terry Parker defender. 

That theme, hard-hit balls that are snared, would prove devastating for the home team.

"This senior class brought Ponte Vedra back," Stanton said. "We had three consecutive district championships out of this senior class. I'm not one who preaches district championships at all, but there is something to that when you put yourself in a good situation (in the playoffs). Three times these guys put themselves in a position to host a game and gave themselves an opportunity. That's all you ask for, an opportunity."

Ponte Vedra extended its advantage in the sixth inning. Ortiz hit a two-run double to bring in Dillon Haines and Matt Barnhorst.

Haines stole third with one out on a play that even some Ponte Vedra supporters agreed was a poor decision. Rogers' throw to the bag beat Haines and Terry Parker's third baseman applied the tag, yet the Sharks' runner was called safe.

Rogers was incensed. Terry Parker coach Dennis Robinson argued his point to no avail.

"We talk about the fifth, sixth, seventh inning all year," Robinson said. "At the beginning of the year, it kind of hurt us. As the year went, we tightened up in the fifth, sixth inning.

"I had the third baseman make the backhand play. That comes into it — staying calm, staying composed, not letting things you can't handle (bother you). That's what it's all about, staying in the moment, not letting something you can't handle affect what you're going to do."

Ponte Vedra pitcher Brody Maynard allowed two runs in six innings but was lifted to start the seventh. A trio of relievers could not sit down the Braves' lineup until it was too late.

The Sharks (17-11) had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh against Jones; but Barnhorst's well-hit ball was caught at the wall with runners at second and third to end Ponte Vedra's season.

"We didn't get down like we usually do when teams come back," Rogers said. "I told everyone to keep their mind on the game and don't give up until it's over."