- Gainesville, FL. Written By: Kyrin Mayfield
The more hits a team has, the higher their score is usually. It’s simple but true. The ball has to be put in play unless the team hopes that, somehow, the defense will walk a dozen batters or make a dozen errors. Hits are vital to an offense.
For this reason, it was fitting to predict that the Tuesday night softball game between the P.K. Yonge Blue Wave and Palatka Panthers would be a high-scoring affair. Both offenses were hitting well over .300 on the season, which makes sense that both were also averaging over eight runs per game.
However, these teams were not having similar seasons.
The Blue Wave lost four of their last five coming in, but were in the middle of a six-game home stand. The Panthers were 6-3 in their last nine games including an impressive 4-2 mark on the road.
Palatka took the first meeting this season, as well as the previous three, by a score of 12-2. Rachel Walkup was perfect from the plate for P.K. Yonge going 2-for-2. Palatka’s Jaden Musgrove was 2-for-3 with five RBIs. Aubrey Brown added three runs. These players were, no doubt, hoping to repeat their strong performances.
P.K. Yonge was playing its first game in the last eleven days, so rust could be a factor.
Palatka wasted no time in scoring by taking a 2-0 lead after the top of the first. Jaden Musgrove led off with a walk and stole second. Jakya Wiggings followed with a single that scored Musgrove. Kortnee Booth then hit a double to center to score Wiggings. A beautiful double play was turned by the Blue Wave.
Jesenia Feggins hit a ball to the short stop Walkup who threw to Paige Tibbets on first for the first out. Tibbets saw Booth headed to third and gunned her out with a throw across the diamond.
P.K. Yonge responded in the bottom half when Jayla Clark also led off with a walk. Shelby Sparkman then hit a single to right to put runners on first and second. Tibbets knocked Clark home with a single up the middle to make the score 2-1 in favor of Palatka.
The Panthers increased their lead to 6-1 in the top of the third. Wiggins led off with a single. Booth was then walked to put to girls on base. Feggins stepped up and completely changed the game when she hit a bomb to center field that cleared the fence. Makayla Clemons hit a base knock and was brought home on a Carlie Drew hit to right.
P.K. Yonge answered again when Sparkman got on with a single and moved to second on a fielder’s choice from the next batter. Tibbets was walked to load the bases which allowed Chandler Loveday to hit a sacrifice fly to center field. The score was now 6-2 after three innings.
The flood gates burst in the very next inning. Eighteen Panthers came up to bat in the top of the fourth. Thirteen of the first fourteen reached base, leading to eleven runs. Two more came home on a two-out double by Drew and the lead was an almost unreachable 20-2.
The Blue Wave didn’t give up.
Amaya Greene and Clark were walked. Sparkman followed with a single to load the bases with two outs. Walkup walked up and hit the ball into play. Palatka’s shortstop made an error which allowed Greene and Clark to score. That’s as close as P.K. Yonge would get, as Palatka won 20-4.
Wiggins was 4-for-4 with four runs and three RBIs for Palatka. Feggins had the homerun along with five RBIs and three runs. Clemons also went 4-for-4 with three runs. Drew added four RBIs.
Sparkman was a bright spot for the Blue Wave. She went 3-for-3 with a run. Clark added two runs thanks to being walked in all three of her plate appearances.
Palatka (10-6) heads to Bradford on Thursday as they prepare to play three games in four days. P.K. Yonge (7-14) hosts Santa Fe on Thursday, the third of six home games in a row.