Port St. Joe’s baseball and softball teams each split their two games last week.
The Tiger Sharks hosted both their games, falling to Tift County, Georgia) 15-3 on March 29, before rebounding to dominate Wewahitchka 14-4 on Friday.
Although scheduled as an away game for St. Joe, the two teams agreed to meet at Centennial Field where the 14-4 Blue Devils scored five runs in the second inning to break a 1-1 tie and never trailed.
Holding an 8-3 lead, Tift County ended any mystery about the outcome with seven more runs in the sixth inning to put them ahead by 10, and the game ended without more Tiger Shark runs.
Juniors Jack Trochessett and Donovan Cumbie each had two hits and an RB, with Trochessett and sophomore Fisher Vandertulip hitting doubles.
Senior Carson Davis had the other St. Joe hit, and sophomore Max Godwin drove in the other Shark run.
Senior Caden Pruitt, junior Jabara Pearson and Vandertulip scored the three St. Joe runs, with sophomore pitcher Jentzen Odom taking the loss.
Friday’s contest against the Gators turned out more favorably for the Tiger Sharks, as they put up seven runs in their first at-bat and never looked back in the 14-4 win.
“We’ve been kind of lacking that (good start) all year,” said head coach Ashley Summerlin. “It seems like every time we start a game we’re always playing in a hole.”
St. Joe sent 11 batters to the plate in their seven-run first inning, accumulating four hits, two walks, a hit batter, two errors, and seven steals. For the game, the Sharks collected 11 hits and swiped 13 bases.
Junior Jordan Olson, Pearson, and Odom each drove in a run during the inning, while Godwin drove in two. Godwin had a team-leading four RBI for the game.
Never in a hole during this game, St. Joe scored two more runs in the third inning, another in the fourth, and ended the game with four runs in the sixth.
The Gators got on the board with a bases-empty home run from sophomore catcher Avery Davis in the second inning, and scored their final three runs in the fourth on senior Elias Alexander’s run-scoring single, sophomore Zay McDaniel’s sacrifice fly, and a Shark error.
“We came out squeezing a little bit, but when the game settled down we kind of weathered the storm and did a couple of good things,” said Gator coach Tyler Worley. “We hit the ball a little better than we have.”
With a 10-4 lead in the sixth inning, sophomore Cullen Partie’s sacrifice fly drove in Cumbie, who had doubled to start the inning. After a walk, Odom drove in his second run of the game and stole second.
With two runners in scoring position, Pruitt smashed a pitch to center field to drive in both runners, giving St. Joe a 10-run advantage that ended the game, allowing the Tiger Sharks to improve to 3-8.
“We’ve got a lot of hard-working kids,” said Worley, whose Gators fell to 1-10. “We didn’t play perfectly, but I’ve got a good group of guys and I enjoy coaching them. We were competitive, other than the first and sixth innings. You take those out, it’s a pretty good ballgame.”
Cumbie, who earned the win, led all batters with three hits, including a double, scored two runs and stole a base.
Godwin collected two hits, scored once, stole two bases, and drove in four Shark runners. Pruitt also had two hits and two RBI.
Pearson had a hit, scored twice, had an RBI, and swiped three bases. Olson added two hits, three runs, an RBI, and two stolen bases, while Odom had a hit, two RBI, and two stolen bases.
“I can tell the jump we’ve made in the past two or three weeks,” said Summerlin. “We’re definitely gaining experience to move forward.”
“It used to be like a funeral when we played,” he said. “Nobody talked, but now they’re talking, they’re making plays. They’re doing what I expect them to do.”
“We still have a long season left (with) 10 or 12 games and the district tournament. Anything can happen. It’s all about how you finish, and I do think we’re trending in the right direction,” Summerlin said.
Summerlin and the Sharks hoped the trend continues on Tuesday, April 5, against the Bozeman Bucks, and Friday, April 8, when they play at Freeport.
Wewa will host Liberty County on Monday, April 4, and Rutherford on Wednesday, April 6.
St. Joe softball also splits games
Like their diamond counterparts, the Port St. Joe softball nine split two games last week, losing to North Bay Haven 13-7 on March 29, and bouncing back to defeat Leon 9-2 the following night.
Tied 2-2, the Buccaneers (4-8) scored five runs in the fourth inning to take a 7-2 lead and never looked back. They would add two more runs in each of the next three innings.
In the fourth, sophomore Hannah Brown scored after leading off with a single, advancing to third on another single and a sacrifice before coming home on a wild pitch.
Then with two outs, freshman pitcher Samantha Velasquez’s double drove in two more runs, and she would come home on eighth grade center fielder Kaylee Goodpaster’s blast over the right field fence.
Goodpaster, who has a .567 batting average, nearly hit for the cycle, finishing the game with a double, triple and home run, and three runs batted in.
St. Joe scored single runs in the first two innings, two runs in the fourth and fifth, and one more in the sixth, but could not keep pace with the hot-hitting Buccaneers, who collected 10 hits for the game, half of which were for extra bases.
The Tiger Sharks finished with eight hits from four different players: two each from sophomores Addy Creekmore and Maya Itzkovitz, and eighth-graders Lauren Brant and leadoff batter Elli Newman.
Brant and Newman both scored twice and hit doubles. Freshman Addy Silcox also scored twice, and junior Kali Austerman scored a run for St. Joe. Itzkovitz drove in two runs, while Newman and Creekmore also knocked in a run.
Prior to the varsity contest, the Port St. Joe JV shut out NBH 14-0 on another shutout by eighth-grader Haley Green.
The following night went much better for the Tiger Sharks as they cruised to an easy 9-2 win over the Leon Lions (2-11) of Tallahassee.
Putting up a five-spot in the first inning gave St. Joe an early advantage, adding single runs in the next three innings and a final run in the sixth. Leon scored a run in the first and another in the fifth.
Freshman Bre Fleming’s single and Brant’s double highlighted the five-run first inning for the Sharks, who garnered 10 hits during the game. Brant ended the game with two hits, two runs scored, two RBI, and stole two bases.
Austerman showed her power and speed with two doubles and a triple, driving in one and scoring another. She also swiped two bases.
Senior Erica Ramsey smashed a triple, drove in one, and scored twice. Creekmore added two hits, a stolen base, and crossed the plate three times. Newman also had a hit and a stolen base for the Sharks.
Eighth-grader Brooklyn Bishop earned the win, going the distance and striking out seven Lions while allowing only two hits and zero earned runs.
Now 6-7, the Sharks will host a doubleheader on Monday, April 4: Sneads at 4 p.m. and Bay at 6 p.m. EST, before playing the Rutherford Rams on Thursday, April 7.