Lady Sharks on a roll


This past week was a good one for the Ponte Vedra high school’s softball team. The Lady Sharks won three games, improving their record to eight wins with no losses.

Clay, Bolles and Fletcher were the latest teams to fall to the Sharks’ strong combination of solid pitching, clutch hitting and timely fielding. Beyond their improved and unblemished record, the Sharks found even more about which to be excited--the coming of age of their freshman pitcher Michelle Holder.

Holder was the winner in all three games during the week and boasts an 8-0 record--identical with her team’s. The key win of the week was the victory over district foe Clay; last seasons district winner and the Sharks primary competition for the title this season.

Holder blanked the Blue Devils for three innings before allowing an unearned run in the fourth. The Sharks weren’t doing much better against Ashley Stokes, Clay’s ace, as far as runs were concerned, trailing 1-0 after four innings. The Sharks missed an opportunity to take the lead in the third inning on hits by Maddie Sypniewski, Farley Callaghan and Claudia Cotto before a fly ball to right ended the threat.

But in the fifth Ponte Vedra did jump in front 2-1 on Qunilan Richmond’s single, a walk to Sypniewski and Taylor Bradshaw’s bases clearing triple into the right field corner.

The Clay sixth inning was the turning point for the Sharks and especially for their young blond pitcher. Three base hits, including a pair of bunt singles loaded the bases for the Devils with no one out. Holder wasn’t rattled; instead she showed the poise of a veteran inducing the next batter to ground the ball right back to her. She turned the grounder into a 1-2-3 double play then got the next batter to fly out to right.

The double play was clearly the defensive play of the game but another play was right up there. In the Clay seventh, the Devils started the inning off with a base hit. The next batter fouled a low pop fly up the third base line, barely six feet in the air. Bradshaw pounced from behind the plate like a cat to make a spectacular diving catch.

In other games, Holder limited Bolles to one earned run on five hits while striking out six in the Sharks’ 7-3 win over the Bulldogs. Ponte Vedra used a hit by Michelle Leone, a walk to Richmond and a bases clearing double by Sypniewski to score two. Sypniewski scored when Callaghan reached on an error.

Abby Zitello’s rbi single upped the Sharks lead to 4-0 in the fourth. They would score again in the sixth on Lauren Struble’s triple and Sypniewski’s single and add another in the seventh on singles by Cotto and Kiley Hennessy and Zitello’s double to deep center.

Sypniewski kept up her hot hitting against Fletcher on the road. She gave the Sharks a 2-0 first inning lead with a home run to deep center field that scored Richmond who had walked. A single by Kaitlyn Reardon, Leone’s sac bunt and Richmond’s single pushed the Shark advantage to 3-0.

They broke the game open with four more in the fourth. After Leone reached on an error, Richmond and Sypniewski singled to load the bases for Bradshaw. The Shark catcher doubled home two then Zitello’s sharp grounder plated two more.

The Sharks meet Orange Park in a home district game on Feb 29th then travel to Ridgeview for another district game on March 1st.