Wewa downs Port St. Joe 8-2

Wewahitchka batted around and scored five times in the third inning to take a commanding 6-1 lead on their way to an 8-2 win over the visiting Port St. Joe Tiger Sharks on Tuesday. 

Prior to the first pitch, senior hurler Haley Guffey signed a scholarship with the College of Central Florida in Ocala, a member of the Mid-Florida Conference of the National Junior College Athletic Association. The ceremony took place in front of home plate with Guffey’s parents, teammates, and coaches around her. 

In making her decision to become a Patriot, Guffey said that she would be “more challenged there. They will push me harder. I like to work for my spot

“I’m going to go there, work hard, and do the best I can,” she said.

Junior right fielder Madison Forehand gave the Gators a brief 1-0 lead in the second when she blasted a one-out home run over the center field fence, but the Tiger Sharks scored a run of their own in the top of the third. 

Eighth grader Elli Newman singled, took second on sophomore Addy Creekmore’s sacrifice bunt, and came around to score on a fielding error. 

Sending 10 batters to the plate in the pivotal third, Wewa effectively put the game away with a five-run outburst, especially with Guffey in the pitching circle. She would go on to surrender only two hits while striking out 14 over seven innings. 

In the third, senior shortstop Katie Shealy led off with a single and took second on a throwing error which allowed senior center fielder Kylie Parker to reach first. 

After an infield fly, both Shealy and Parker advanced to second and third, respectively. Senior catcher Morgan Mayhann then drove both runners home with a single to left. After stealing second and advancing to third on a ground out, Mayhann came home on a wild pitch. 

Forehand, who took her base on a walk, sped to third on freshman first baseman Laiken Ferrell’s double, and both scored on freshman Keersten Easter’s double down the left field line. The inning ended with no more Gator runners crossing the plate, but St. Joe found itself on the wrong end of a 6-1 score to start the fourth. 

“When you face a good pitcher, you have to limit your mental and physical mistakes,” said Shark coach Lissa Walker. “The third inning we had a few of each which gave Wewa the runs Guffey needed. You give her run support, then she can shut a team down.

“We had a few positives, but our negatives outweighed the positives,” she said.

Walker replaced freshman pitcher Addy Silcox with eighth grader Brooklin Bishop to face the Gators in the fourth. Wewa managed to score two more runs in the fifth to take an 8-1 lead. 

With one out, Forehand hit a single and Ferrell followed with a double, her second of the game. Easter’s single brought home Forehand, with Ferrell scoring the final run of the inning on a passed ball. 

Shark junior shortstop Kali Austerman,who had four assists and two putouts on defense, slammed a bases-empty home run over the right-center fence in the Tiger Shark sixth for the final run of the game. 

Guffey ended the contest by striking out the final three Shark batters to lift Wewa to 6-2 for the season. St. Joe fell to 5-6. 

Shealy, Forehand, Ferrell, and Easter each had two hits for Wewa, with Mayhann and sophomore Ashley Thompson collecting the other two Gator hits. 

Forehand touched home three times, and Ferrell scored twice. Shealy, Parker, and Mayhann scored the other Gator runs.

Easter knocked in three runs, Mayhann two, and Forehand had one RBI.

“We have to learn to be present every inning, focus on winning each inning, and make more adjustments at the plate,” said Walker. “It’s a long season and we will have the same approach at practice even after last night’s game – work on the mental and physical parts of our game.

“We are a good team, and we improve in areas each game although the scoreboard doesn’t always show our improvements,” added the Shark coach.

Gator coach Justin Smith agreed with his county counterpart, saying, “St. Joe is much better. I’m not going to take them lightly.”

Fans who came for the JV game before the signing ceremony caught a glimpse of the future when eighth graders Severa Haney for Wewa and Haley Green for St. Joe engaged in a classic pitchers’ duel that ended in a scoreless tie due to time constraints.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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