The Ponte Vedra Sharks found themselves on the short end of the 4-3 final score against their archrival, the Nease Panthers, last week. Ponte Vedra came into the matchup against Nease boasting a 5-1 record, but several untimely errors proved costly for the Sharks against the visiting Panthers.
Nease opened the game with an unearned run in the first inning off Shark starter Jack Hahnemann, then Ponte Vedra answered in their half with a pair of base runners thanks to an error by Panther shortstop and a hard single to left by Quinton Brehm. With runners on first and third, Nease turned Hahnemann’s sharp ground ball into an inning, ending double play – a call strongly disputed by Sharks Coach Tom Stanton. The play cost the Sharks the tying run and would loom large later in the game.
Nease extended their lead to 4-0 with three more unearned runs in the third frame. Chris Eichorn led off with a single to left, then advanced when the Sharks misplayed Jared Whittle’s bunt bid for a base hit. Next, Jayson Sowden reached on an error by the Shark shortstop. Eichorn scored on the play and Whittle moved to third. A pair of wild pitches allowed both Whittle and Sowden to score.
Nease starter Leighton Alley held the Sharks at bay for the next three innings, allowing just Zach Chappell’s single in the second and a pair of walks in the fourth.
Ponte Vedra rallied for two in the fifth. A base hit by DuncanVan Kuteran and a walk to Jacob Young chased Alley. Collin Garner came on for the Panthers and walked Brehm to load the bases. Aleman’s single to right drove in two runs and left the Sharks trailing 4-2.
The Sharks’ Kevin Faulkner pitched perfect relief, blanking the Panthers in the sixth and seventh innings, striking out three and allowing no hits.
Ponte Vedra mounted a seventh inning rally started by Young’s base hit up the middle. Aleman delivered his second single of the game, then he and Young moved up a base on a wild pitch. Carter Page came through with a single to center to score Young but Aleman was cut down at the plate trying to score the tying run, ending both the inning and the game.