ODA Wins Taylor Emmons Memorial Tournament!

ODA Baseball Team after winning the Taylors Emmon Tournament

ODA Baseball Team after winning the Taylors Emmon Tournament

Sarasota- After three years of not advancing in their own tournament, the Taylor Emmons Memorial Tournament, ODA has finally done it. They not only won at their home field, they did so by beating their rival, Cardinal Mooney.

A senior-heavy team mixed with just the right amount of youth gave the Thunder all they needed as they played three extremely competitive games, the first being against Palmetto.

Palmetto held a 5-8 win to loss recorded before playing the thunder. Palmetto was considered the favorite over the Out-of-Door Academy (10-2-1) and felt confident as they were “throwing their ace” Jacob Josie, a Florida Atlantic commit. Josie had only allowed one walk thus far and was determined to make ODA swing the bat

Brady Moore, a standout, made an amazing diving catch in right field to save the game tying run from scoring in the last inning. In the previous inning, he crushed a double to deep center scoring two insurance runs, giving the Thunder a lead of 3-1. ODA won the contest 3-2.

Two days later, the Thunder faced a regional opponent in Evangelical Christian, who bragged about throwing their University of Florida commit, but it turned out they used him in their loss to Palmetto the day before. Instead they threw a Junior, committed to play baseball at Dallas Baptist, an emerging baseball powerhouse at the Division 1 level. He would go to throw four innings as his defense behind him made four errors allowing six runs. ODA won the game 12-6.

A beast at the plate, Najee Rhodes made the real difference in the game going 3-4 with a home run and double off the center field wall to give the Thunder all the momentum. Batting .425 on the year, Najee had no problem handling the Dallas Baptist commit.

The Thunder’s two wins would go on to place them in the championship game versus their long time rival in the Cardinal Mooney Cougars. A much anticipated game, this matchup was an opportunity to settle the score. The Thunder and Cougars met earlier in the year and came out with a draw in 13 innings.

The Cougars came out strong as their lead-off hitter blasted a home run on just the second pitch of the game. ODA felt no pressure for they had been in this situation any times before, they quickly responded by putting two of their own runs on the board, deadlocking the match.

In the 4th inning of the game with the bases loaded, Max Munroe came to bat and smoked a bases-clearing double to the right field gap giving ODA a commanding lead. All of this led to ODA being able to coast to an 8-4 win and secure the championship over their rivals.

All of this led the Thunder to a ranking of second in 3A baseball in the state of Florida. The team listed above at the ranking of number one is also ranked number 18 in the country among all divisions and classifications of high school baseball.


Owen Ragsdale is an ODA senior. As an opinion writer, his views are his own and do not necessarily represent an official position of the Out-of-Door Academy.