- Gainesville, FL. Written by: Kyrin Mayfield
Sports are an enjoyable experience. The happiness that comes from friendly competition and contribution is what makes it so great. Too often players and teams are too competitive to the point where the fun is sucked out of the game or illegal tactics are used. There is nothing wrong with being competitive, but don’t let it distract from the main reason why the players of then and now play the game – because its fun.
It was good to see pure joy during Wednesday’s softball game between the St. Francis Wolves and the St. Joseph Flashes. The players were making jokes during warmups, and the coaches were joking with the umpires. Both teams were happy just to be playing the game they loved.
It’s been a back-and-forth series between the two schools. The Wolves won every game from 2012 to 2014, but then the Flashes came back to win nine of the next ten.
They played earlier this year, with St. Joseph squeaking out a 27-26 win. The Wolves’ Erika Brockish had five runs and six RBIs. Sophia Reyna added four runs and three RBIs.
The Flashes started hot, scoring five runs in the first thanks to five straight walks and a single. An early hole for the Wolves, but they bounced back quickly with an unimaginable eleven run bottom of the first. The first eight batters reached. Reyna and Lindsey Spiegler led off with singles each.
Brockish then smacked a triple to left field to bring home two and start the scoring. Four walks and a base hit followed before the first out. Eventually, Brockish came back up to the plate a did the same thing – hit a 2RBI triple. At the end of a forty-five-minute first inning, St. Francis held a promising 11-5 lead.
St. Joseph put a dent in the deficit in the top of the second. A runner got to second base by error and stole third. Delaney Graff was next up. She stuck out but made it to second from an errant throw by the catcher to first base which allowed the runner on third to score. Graff then came home on a fielder’s choice. 11-7 lead for the Wolves.
The score stayed stagnant until the bottom of the third when the first eight batters reached base. Brockish had an astounding third triple, fitting for a wild game like this. Three straight singles by Jenna Ayoub, Reagan Starling and Fantasia Dixon capped off the six-run inning and pushed the lead to 17-7.
Flashes runs came slowly but steadily as they scored another in the fourth. A batter was walked, moved to second on a single by Graff, then to third on a fielder’s choice and finally scored when a batter was walked with the bases loaded to put the score at 17-8.
The baserunners kept coming for St. Francis. After the leadoff batter grounded out, the next seven reached base, three of them getting hit by a pitch. The lead was now 21-8 after four innings.
Facing the mercy rule, St. Joseph still had some fight. Needing to score at least four runs, five of the first six batters singled to begin the top of the fifth. They scored just enough and now trailed 21-12.
The Wolves put away the game quickly, however. Brockish led off with a walk, stole second and came home on an Ayoub single to win the game 22-12, their first win of the season. The St. Francis players gave their coach a great present just one day after his birthday.
“Our goal has been that we improve,” said head coach David Fallo, acknowledging the rough start to the season. “That we play the next game better than we played this game. That we’ll play better in May than we played in January, and I feel like we’ll be able to say that this year.”
No surprise, Brockish had the best game for St. Francis, going 3-for-4 (all triples) with four runs and five RBIs. Ayoub and Dixon contributed with three runs and three RBIs each. Graff was great for St. Joseph going 2-for-3 with three runs and two RBIs.