The Lady Gators' only senior, Madison Forehand, was honored before the game against Port St. Joe.
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Lady Gators beat Tiger Sharks in first playoff game

The Wewahitchka Lady Gators defeated Port St. Joe 8-1 on Monday, May 1, in the first round of the 1A District 4 playoffs, but had their own season ended the next night by Liberty County by a 6-5 score. 

Prior to the start of Monday’s action in Port St. Joe, a special ceremony recognized Wewa’s lone senior, Madison Forehand, since stormy weather had forced the cancellation of two planned senior night ceremonies on the Gator home field. 

After two scoreless innings, Wewa’s Eden Rustin drove in Ashley Thompson with a two-out single to center field, and added a second run the next inning when Savana Mayhann led off with a double and scored after a throwing error on Forehand’s sacrifice bunt. 

The Gators added to their lead with three more runs in the fifth. Keersten Easter led off with a sharp single up the middle, the first of her two hits during the game, and Jordyn Ashby ended up safe at first after a successful bunt. 

With one out, Eden Rustin drove in Easter with her second hit, and went to third on another Shark fielding miscue which allowed Ashby to score. 

Laiken Ferrell’s sacrifice fly drove in Rustin with the third run of the inning, giving Gator pitcher Severa Haney a comfortable 5-0 lead. 

Anniston Gainer’s one-out base hit and a walk to Addy Creekmore gave Shark fans hope, but Ashley Thompson started a double play from her third base position to end the potential threat and preserve the lead. 

Elli Newman started the St. Joe sixth with a base hit, and ended up at third on consecutive wild pitches before Brooklyn Bishop drove her home with a single up the middle. Forehand ended any further scoring with a diving catch for the third out of the inning. 

Wewa put the game to rest with three more runs in the seventh inning. 

With Ashley Thompson on first after a one-out walk, Eden Rustin collected her third hit of the game, and both runners advanced a base with a tag on a long popout in foul territory. 

Mayhann sent both runners home with a smash that hit off the left field fence, and she quickly rounded third and scored on Forehand’s single. 

At that point, Gator coach Justin Smith sent a pinch runner in for his senior, so that she could come off the field to the cheers of her teammates and fans. 

Two fly ball outs sandwiched around a strikeout ended the contest, with Emma Rustin making a diving play on the third out to complete the 8-1 win.

Mayhann, who had two doubles during the game, “has been doing that at practice since last week,” said Smith. “I should have bunted her (in the seventh), but she’s been seeing the ball very well (so) I said I’m going to let her swing away.” 

“We just preach to them that it’s one game at a time in the district tournament,” he said after his Gators defeated the Tiger Sharks for the third time this season. “Good things can happen if we keep working hard.” 

His counterpart, St. Joe coach Lissa Walker, said “We didn’t put together enough solid innings. When you play a good team like Wewa, you have to keep them off the bases and take care of your business at the plate and on defense.” 

“We definitely have a lot to build off of on this loss,” she said. “Overall, the season was good, and we had a lot of learning curves that we will learn from. The team is still young (two seniors) in many areas, and we have some growth to do, but I’m still proud of them and how hard they worked throughout the season.” 

Walker added that she was proud of “the building blocks we have laid and the work we put in.” St. Joe ended the season with a 10-13 record. 

Liberty County 6, Wewa 5 

The following night, Liberty County nipped the Gators 6-5 with a go-ahead run in the sixth inning despite being outhit eight to six, at the District 4 tournament in Blountstown. 

Wewa took an early 1-0 lead in their first at bat when Ashley Thompson scored on a hard hit ball by Savana Mayhann. The Gators added another run the next inning when Hope Thompson came around to score on Keersten Easter’s single. 

The Bulldogs tied the game with two runs of their own in the second, and took a 3-2 lead with another run in the third. In the fifth inning, a two-run homer by “Sister” Arnold increased the Liberty lead to 5-2. 

In the sixth, Madison Forehand led off with a base on balls, and Easter took first courtesy of a fielding error two outs later. Both came around to score on Jaliyah Addison’s blast over the center field fence that knotted the score at 5-5. 

In the sixth, however, a two-base error with two outs followed by a run-scoring single gave the Bulldogs a 6-5 lead. 

Despite a lead-off single by Eden Rustin, the Gators could not muster a rally, and saw their season come to an end with a 9-13 record, while Liberty County advanced to the district finals where they faced Franklin County.

This story has been updated from an earlier version to correct the spelling of a name.

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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