On the diamond, Port St. Joe enjoyed successful outings this past week, with the softball team winning all three of its games and the baseball nine prevailing twice.
Coach Lissa Walker’s young softball team needed only five innings to dispose of the 4-9 Poplar Springs Atomics 14-2 on Monday, April 18, despite getting only three base hits.
The Tiger Sharks took advantage of three free passes, a hit batter, and a wild pitch to plate two runs in their first at bat. In the second inning, 14 Shark batters went to the plate and 10 of them scored to effectively put the game away.
Two more Shark runners crossed the plate in the fourth inning and Brooklyn Bishop induced three consecutive outs in the fifth inning to end the game and earn the first of her three wins for the week.
Elli Newman, Bre Fleming, and Bishop collected the only St. Joe hits as the Atomic pitchers had trouble finding the strike zone, issuing a total of 12 walks. Newman scored twice and Fleming touched the plate three times.
The next night’s contest against Mosley proved to be more difficult as the 9-11 Dolphins jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the third inning, but in what Walker described as “our most exciting game of the year,” the Sharks regrouped and won going away by a score of 15-5.
After closing the gap with a three-run fourth, the Sharks found their groove in the fifth and final frame with a 12-run outburst to give Bishop and St. Joe another win.
Kali Austerman, Newman, Erica Ramsey, and Maelynn Butler each stroked doubles, while Ramsey, Addy Creekmore, and Lauren Brant legged out three-baggers.
Bishop, Addy Silcox, and Maya Itzkovitz each hit singles to round out the 13-hit Shark attack.
Austerman drove in four runs, followed closely by Creekmore’s three and Ramsey’s two. Ramsey led the way with three runs scored, while Newman, Creekmore, and Bishop each scored twice.
Highlighted by a six-run third inning, St. Joe wrapped up its week with an 8-0 shutout win over the 5-15 Sneads Pirates to boost its season record to 14-8.
Austerman added a two-run blast in the fourth, her third round-tripper of the season. The junior shortstop, who leads the team with 30 runs batted in, had two hits, scored twice, and batted in three for the game.
Topping the team with 31 runs scored, Ramsey added a double, a run and an RBI, while Silcox had a hit, a run, and two RBI.
Newman, Creekmore, Bishop, Itzkovitz, and Brant completed the nine hit Shark attack with singles.
The youthful Sharks, who appear to have “bought into” Walker’s program, finished the regular season with games at Vernon on Tuesday, April 26, and North Bay Haven on Thursday, April 28, before heading into the district playoffs.
St. Joe boys down Bay, Poplar Springs
In baseball action, Port St. Joe erupted for 13 runs in the first two innings to cruise to an easy 19-4 win over Poplar Springs (3-10).
Winning pitcher Max Godwin and Jabara Pearson both had three hits and four runs batted in, followed closely by Caden Pruitt’s three RBI.
Fisher Vandertulip and Hunter Hicks each drove in two runs. Jake Trochessett added two hits and an RBI in the Shark attack.
Tuesday’s contest against the 19-3 Bozeman Bucks proved to be a different story, as the Sharks went down by a score of 11-0 to the top-ranked 1A school in the state. Dakota Quinn and Godwin collected the only hits off Buck pitching.
Friday’s game against the 3-15 Bay Tornadoes got the 9-10 Sharks back in the winning column as they came home with a 6-1 win.
St. Joe got off to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning, and added a run in the fourth, two more in the sixth, and a final run in the seventh before Bay scored their only run of the game.
Quinn, Trochessett, and Pearson had two hits to lead the Sharks. Pearson and Hicks scored two runs each, and Donovan Cumbie pitched six shutout innings to claim another win.
Port St. Joe ended the regular season at Wewa on Monday, April 25, followed by a home game against Liberty County the following night.
Wewa had used an eight-run fourth inning to defeat Ponce de Leon 13-1 last Thursday night to win their third game of the season.
Following the visit from Port St. Joe, the Gators were set to play Freeport on Tuesday, April 26, and Malone on Thursday, April 28.
Both Port St. Joe and Wewa will play in the 1A District 4 playoffs after the regular season ends.