Special to the Recorder
Ponte Vedra’s softball team is peaking at just the right time. The Lady Sharks have won four straight playoff games and by virtue of their most recent win, a 12-2 mercy win over West Florida, are heading to Vero Beach for state softball playoffs’ final-four round. Ponte Vedra used solid pitching, timely hitting, excellent base running and stellar defense to defeat the West Florida Jaguars.
The Sharks started quickly, scoring three runs in the first inning with Scotland David leading the attack. The freshman center fielder singled, moved up a base on a passed ball then scored on Farley Callaghan’s base hit. Callaghan scored on Bailey Wagoner’s double and Kiley Hennessey’s base hit drove in the third run of the inning.
The Jaguars put a runner on with a one-out base hit then a slick, but rare for softball, 4-6-3 double play ended any threat.
Ponte Vedra padded its lead in the second inning, scoring four more times. Elizabeth Fox started things with a four-pitch walk. After the Jaguar third baseman misplayed Michelle Holder’s sac bunt, David singled home a run, Michelle Leone did the same and Wagoner followed with a two-RBI base hit.
The visitors used a pair of infield hits and an error to threaten in the third inning, but the Sharks came up with two fine defensive plays. A comebacker to the pitcher resulted in a 1-2, Holder to Taylor Bradshaw, force at the plate. Then right fielder Callaghan ended the inning with a remarkable diving catch.
Ponte Vedra added three more runs in the third as Fox again ignited the rally with a base hit. David walked then Leone’s base hit drove in one and Quinlan Richmond’s gapper plated two more to give the Sharks a comfortable 10-0 lead.
West Florida momentarily avoided the threat of the mercy loss with a pair of runs in the fourth inning but that was before Ponte Vedra came to bat in the fifth. The inning started benignly, with the first two Sharks being retired.
David then singled for her third hit of the game. Leone took ball four as David was attempting to steal second. The fourth ball of the walk to Leone went to the backstop and David took off for third. A pair of Jaguar throwing errors allowed both David and Leone to score, ending the game.
Two days earlier, the Sharks chalked up another playoff mercy win when they eliminated Ridgeview from the playoffs by the score of 15-0 on Holder’s one-hitter. In addition to blanking Panthers, Holder contributed greatly to the Shark attack with two hits, one a two-run home run. David and Hennessey collected three hits in three trips, while Leone, Callaghan and Bradshaw also had multiple hit games.
Ponte Vedra will play in the state semi-final game against American Heritage on Friday, May 19 at 11:05 a.m. at Dodgertown in Vero Beach. Should they win, they will play for the state championship on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.