Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Softball: Pollard, Countryside get revenge

CLEARWATER — The reason for Countryside losing three of its previous five games could have been written in boldface capital letters, underlined and highlighted with a fluorescent marker.

Defensive miscues were the culprit, including two costly ones in an eight-inning loss to Northeast two weeks ago that dropped Countryside from the top of the Class 7A, District 9 standings.

On Tuesday, the Cougars were determined not to beat themselves again in their rematch with the Vikings. Countryside's defense was nearly perfect with key plays that bailed the team out of several jams. In the bottom of the eighth, the offense came through as Sommer Pollard hit a single that brought home Brooke Sharpe in a 1-0 victory.

"The defense kept us in it, and I felt like it was only a matter of time before we got something going on offense," Cougars coach Kaylyn Bayly said. "Just looking at who we had coming up in the eighth, it seemed like we could get something done there."

Countryside (7-3) went through three pitchers — Alyssa Queen, Samantha Ramasanto and Stella Preston — none of whom are strikeout specialists. That puts a premium on the defense to make plays. The Cougars came through, leaving the Vikings with nine base runners stranded.

Northeast runners were twice thrown out at home. The Cougars got out of other jams, too, including a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the sixth inning, and runners at first and second with one out in the eighth.

"We have a really strong outfield and anyone playing out there can catch and has a good enough arm to throw anyone out," Bayly said.

Countryside had its chances, as well. The Vikings thwarted most of them. It wasn't until the eighth that the Cougars were able to capitalize with Sharpe and Andrea Fredericks each singling to set up Pollard's winning hit.

"I was just looking to hit a level shot," Pollard said. "I wanted to get a hit that could end the game and that was a good time to get it."

The Vikings, who started 5-0, have lost three straight, all coming against district opponents. Kayla Stellwag led Northeast on offense with three hits.

PHU's early lead holds

PALM HARBOR — The Seminole-Palm Harbor University rivalry still sizzles, even if Tuesday's game was mostly one-sided and the teams are no longer district foes.

The 'Canes (8-1) exploded in the second inning, taking a 10-1 lead and putting the Warhawks under threat of a mercy rule. To Seminole's credit, it got three runs in the fifth inning and another in the sixth but ultimately fell 15-7 to PHU.

The Warhawks (7-3) got one run in the first and the 'Canes got two. Then PHU stepped up to bat in the second and devoured starting pitcher Brooke McEntire. McEntire got the first two outs in the inning but an error put nine-hitter Kelsy Levee on base and leadoff hitter Alayna Gallagher doubled her in. Baily Wilson singled in Gallagher and Logyn Lilley crushed a two-run homer over the wall in left-center.

The 'Canes weren't done. Rachel Taylor doubled off the wall, Katie Flanagan walked, then Seminole brought on Julia McQueen in relief. Only Rebekah Mooneyhan blooped one into right that found the turf and two more runs scored.

Then in the third, the 'Canes got into the Warhawk bullpen again, when Taylor crushed a two-run homer over the rightfield wall. It brought Jordan Day out, and she got out of the inning, stranding three base runners.

PHU coach Kerry Katchuk started making substitutions in the bottom of the fourth with a five-inning mercy ruling in sight.

"I've got 11 freshmen and 22 kids on the team that work just as hard as any of the other," Katchuk said. "They swing the bats okay, too, and they need playing time."

Seminole's Mackenzie Jahn had other ideas. The junior sent a three-run homer over the leftfield wall and turned the game into seven innings. Lilley, who closed out the final two innings on the mound, was 4-for-4 with a double, a home run, a walk and three RBIs and three solid putouts from third base. Taylor, batting fourth, was 3-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and three RBIs.

"Logyn is a special player, but has been behind the last two county players of the year at third (base)," Katchuk said.

Andy Warrener, Times correspondent

Softball: Pollard, Countryside get revenge 03/04/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 9:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ryan Callahan encouraged by his return


    Captain Steven Stamkos wasn't the only key Lightning player to make a triumphant return Friday night against Nashville.

  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb hates to hear how he "battled through" or "grinded out" a start rather than just dominated, but that's kind of what he did Friday, allowing nine hits and a walk and being charged with two wild pitches but only three runs in earning his 12th win.

  3. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.
  4. Rays journal: Alex Cobb may have pitched last game in Rays uniform (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — RHP Alex Cobb pitched well enough to lead the Rays to an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Friday.

    Wilson Ramos gives thanks after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  5. Ww's Odessabeach makes run at Husker Magic stakes final


    ST. PETERSBURG — When Hurricane Irma blew through Florida earlier this month, Ww's Odessabeach remained in her comfort zone.