BROOKSVILLE — Last season, with a team made up mostly of freshmen, Nature Coast set a school record for wins with nine. In their 11th game of this season, the Sharks equaled that mark with a 4-1 win over county rival Hernando on Tuesday night.
Nature Coast (9-2) was led by a strong outing from ace Ashley Antzcak. Although she didn't overpower batters with only five strikeouts, she was masterful at keeping the ball on the infield dirt. The stellar Sharks defense took care of the rest, as 13 of the 21 game outs were achieved by ground out.
"The infield didn't just make the easy plays tonight," Nature Coast coach Mettina Maggiore said. "They were able to make the hard plays and the plays that required a second effort, too."
Antzcak also starred at the plate. With the game scoreless through four innings, Nature Coast broke through in the fifth. After an RBI triple from Brooke Sager and an RBI double from Lizzy Olmstead, Antzcak finished the scoring with an RBI single.
She finished 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. In contrast, she didn't allow a batter in the lineup to finish with more than one hit for Hernando (6-5).
"Some nights you can't just come out here and blow everybody away," Antzcak said. "The important thing was to keep the ball on the ground and trust the defense I had behind me."
Ari Lowman was the tough luck loser for the Leopards. She surrendered only two earned runs in the complete-game loss, with Hernando committing three errors to none for the Sharks.