Springstead, Nature Coast Advance to Softball Elite 8
By Danny Aiello Jr
Nature Coast 4, Bishop Moore 0
Abbey Primavera threw a three-hit shutout while her defense played outstanding, as Nature Coast beat Bishop Moore 4-0 in Tuesday’s regional semifinal contest.
Primavera didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning, and despite some defensive miscues, the Sharks (25-4) seemed to always make the big play to get out of the inning.
“We played awesome. We had a couple miscues, but we were always in the right place at the right time.” Nature Coast skipper Jug Olmstead said. “I was real pleased with the way we played overall.” We hit the ball hard. We are explosive one through nine and she was a good pitcher, we just made adjustments.
Things got started for the Sharks offense in the second inning when Primavera helped her own cause with a double off the bottom of the left field fence. Cerina Brooks followed with a single and quarterfinal hero Celine Kordon came through with a double off the fence scoring courtesy runner Abby Marshall.
Alyssa Gonzalez then would lay down a safety squeeze scoring Brooks.
The Hornets (26-3) offense didn’t put up much of a fight against Primavera, and when they did hit a ball hard, it always seemed Gonzalez was there to make a play.
“It’s exciting, I wanted to come back sooner after the surgery.” said Gonzalez who had her appendix removed after the April 5th game against South Sumter. “I wanted to play my best coming back in the first game, and really make a contribution to the team.”
Showing no hesitation, Gonzalez made two diving plays and a leap grabbing to rob Bishop Moore of hits.
“I felt in my comfort zone.” Gonzalez said. “I like to go out there and make the spectacular plays.”
In the fifth, the Sharks would tack on a pair of insurance runs as Mare Sparacia hit a sacrifice fly and Chyloe Gonzalez ripped an RBI single.
The final out would also come on the heels of the Shark defense as first basemen Alanis Berrios made a diving stop and threw from her backside to Alyssa Gonzalez covering first.
With the win, Nature Coast advances to the Elite 8 as they will travel to South Sumter Friday, 4/29. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. weather permitting.
Springstead 3, Crystal River 1 F/8 Innings
Paige Pfent sent a 2-run homer over the flag pole in right center, sending the crowd home happy, and the Eagles through to the Elite 8, as they beat Crystal River 3-1 Tuesday night in extra innings.
Pfent, continuing her Player-of-the-Year worthy campaign, now has tailed 12 home runs this season and her twelfth was enough to push the Eagles (27-1) deeper into the postseason.
Kama Woodall continued her streak of dominance over opponents racking up her 19th win of the season behind seven strikeouts and a 108 pitch complete game victory.
Crystal River (11-18) freshman hurler Jaden Vickers was equally impressive tossing a complete game herself on 114 pitches, while striking out 12 and only allowing one earned run on four hits.
The Eagles got on the board first when Pfent walked in the fourth inning. After a sacrifice bunt, Woodall reached on an error, and Megan Nelski drilled a double scoring Pfent.
Woodall was closing in on another shutout, but the Pirates fought back in the top of the seventh to force extras.
After a leadoff double by Savannah Edwards, Woodall got two quick outs before Lexi Laxton hit a double, evening the score at one.
That set the stage for Pfent to be the walk off hero.
Abby Oliver reached on an error to lead off the eighth inning, and promptly stole second base. Instead of intentionally walking the sophomore catcher, Vickers pitched to Pfent and the result was an opposite field blast, ending the game and the Pirates season.
Springstead will host Land O’Lakes in the Elite 8 on Friday, 4/29. The Eagles defeated the Gators in the season opener 1-0, as Pfent hit an extra innings home run in that one as well. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m., weather permitting.