Early runs by Sharks prove enough to fend off Panthers’ rally


The Ponte Vedra High Sharks hung on late for a victory over the rival Nease Panthers, 4-3, on March 20 following a furious start by the Sharks and a comeback bid for the Panthers.

It did not take long for the Sharks (3-9) to grab the lead as they scored three runs in the top of the first inning and then received lights out pitching from Storm Lickliter, who pitched six shutout innings, allowing just two hits while striking out three and walking a pair.

His strong pitching coupled with a dynamic day at the plate for several players was just what the Sharks needed, as they entered the contest with a record of 1-9, although many of those games were against stiff competition and in tournament formats.

Senior and Florida State University commit Matt Hoag drove in two of the Sharks’ four runs in the game with a double and a triple, while Nate Wicker saw the ball well at the plate and went a perfect three-for-three on the night.

Parker Gunnell joined his fellow senior Hoag with a triple and an RBI as well.

Cole Rambler continued to show a knack for finding the base paths and scored twice against the Panthers.

The Sharks added another run in the fifth inning for what may not have looked like much at the time, but it turned out to be the winning run and the difference in the game after the Panthers came storming back with a trio of runs in the final inning.

The Panthers and Sharks have had similar seasons to this point with both only having managed two victories, but as the second half of the season kicks into gear, they both hope to find their groove and start string together wins as they march through the rest of the schedule.

The Sharks carried their momentum beyond the Panthers’ matchup, as they crushed the Eagle’s View Academy Warriors of Jacksonville at home 11-0.

Austin O’Hara, Hoag and Caleb Stanton each had two hits in the contest, including three RBIs for Stanton and two for O’Hara.

Roshan Patel pitched five no-hit and scoreless innings that included eight strikeouts en route to the victory.

The Panthers continued the trend of playing county opponents, falling 5-0 to Tocoi Creek before handling business against Bartram Trail in a close 4-2 contest to improve to a record of 3-9 on the season.

Ponte Vedra Sharks, Nease Panthers, baseball