PV girls split softball thrillers


The Ponte Vedra softball team experienced the full gamut of emotion in games this past week. On Tuesday the Lady Sharks faced the Orange Park Raiders on the road--the same team that stopped PV’s 8-game winning streak with a 14-0 shelling two weeks ago. In a remarkable comeback the Sharks blanked Orange Park 1-0 in nine innings. Then on Thursday evening, Ponte Vedra traveled to Clay for a rematch of their earlier 2-1 win over the Blue Devils. This time it was the Devils who extracted revenge, winning 9-8.

In Ponte Vedra’s remarkable win over the potent Raiders, Michelle Holder pitched a 6-hit shutout, striking out 10 and walking just one. The Shark defense displayed a magnificent return to form to keep the hosts from scoring in the fourth inning on an attempted squeeze bunt. On the play, Holder fielded the bunt and her perfect underhand toss to Taylor Bradshaw nailed the runner attempting to score from third.

Ponte Vedra scored the only run of the game in the ninth inning on Maddie Sypniewski’s lead off single to center. Farley Callaghan moved Sypniewski to second with a perfect sacrifice bunt then Michelle Leone delivered the game winner with a double off the center field wall.

The Sharks trip to Clay was not as rewarding but was equally exciting. Ponte Vedra jumped on Clay’s ace Ashley Stokes for three runs in the first inning using doubles by Leone and Quinlan Richmond, a walk to Sypniewski and a ground out RBI by Callaghan.

Leone and Quinlan replicated their first inning power hitting with another pair of doubles to make the score 4-0.

After Clay answered with a run in their half of the second. The Sharks pushed their lead to 5-1 when Abby Zitello singled and Kiley Hennesey drove her home with a double to left center.

Clay scored twice in the third but the Sharks responded with three more of their own to pad their lead to 8-3, taking advantage of singles by Richmond, Sypniewski and a fielder’s choice that put Callaghan on base. Bradshaw then delivered a 2-RBI single.

The Devils scored again in the fourth but a heads up double play started by Zitello ended the threat. The Clay fifth saw the Devils tie matters with five consecutive hits off Holder that netted four runs.

The Sharks loaded the bases in the sixth but couldn’t score. They made another brilliant defensive play in the Clay sixth after the Devils led off the inning with a hit. After a sacrifice bunt moved the lead run to second, Leone fielded a ground ball and fired to first to get the runner. Then Lauren Struble rifled the ball to Sypniewski at third to nail the runner trying too advance. The double play kept the score tied, but not for long.

The first batter in the Clay seventh led off with a walk and the next batter beat out a sacrifice bunt. Holder issued an intentional walk to load the bases setting up a force at the plate. With the infield in, the move backfired when the next Devil batter looped a flair just over third base to drive in the game winner.