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Streaking Lady Sharks solve Springstead

Hernando Today correspondent

Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2014 at 11:48 PM

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SPRING HILL - Behind junior catcher Chyloe Gonzalez's game-high 3-for-4 effort and a complete-game, five-hitter by freshman Abbey Primavera, visiting Nature Coast Technical eased past Springstead Tuesday night, 6-2.

For the first time in five seasons, the Lady Sharks (9-0 overall, 5-0 county) swept the seasonal series against the Lady Eagles (4-7 overall, 0-3 county).

NCT improved to 7-12 lifetime against Springstead, scoring six runs (two earned) off hard-luck southpaw Louisa Disi (4-6) via a game-high 10 hits while taking advantage of four Lady Eagle miscues.

Disi had spun a no-hitter through seven innings at NCT before losing the Feb. 27 game with two outs in the bottom of the eighth on three straight singles, 1-0.

Through four frames, Disi kept the Lady Sharks' bats in check facing two batters over the minimum.

SHS center fielder Shelbi Ard, who finished with four putouts and two assists, kept the hosts in the game thanks to two fine running grabs in the second and third innings.

The scoreboard was finally dented in the top of the fifth as the game tilted on the first of two Lady Eagle defensive miscues.

Primavera, who helped herself with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate, opened the frame by cracking a single to center.

Frosh Cerina Brooks bunted back to Disi, who double-clutched before throwing the ball over first base, allowing Brooks to reach second and sending courtesy runner Ty'shalla Brockington to third.

With one out, sophomore Marriah Adams grounded to second base to plate Brockington, 1-0.

Junior Kathryn Gonzalez reached on another error plating the second unearned run, 2-0.

In the sixth, NCT padded the cushion with three runs.

Junior Brianna "Breezy" Harvey, who arrived hitting .481, tripled over the right fielder's head. Chyloe Gonzalez followed with an RBI single.

With one out, a dropped fly ball allowed Brittany Rodriguez to reach. Primavera followed by lacing a two-run single to right-center, 5-0.

In the seventh, Kat Gonzalez led off with a double to right-center. Two batters later, Chyloe Gonzalez, who came in hitting .409, laced a RBI double to left-center.

SHS, which arrived with a county-low .244 batting average, countered with two runs (both unearned) in the seventh.

Disi, who came in hitting .464, swatted two hits before coaxing a leadoff walk off Primavera.

With one out, Brittni Desmond, who arrived hitting .063, rapped two hits before smashing a liner off Brooks' glove at third.

With two runners on, Sarah Kelly, who came in hitting .150, drilled a RBI double to left plating Brooke Fischbach.

In freshman Lexi Statuto's first-ever varsity at-bat, she grounded into a fielder's choice plating Desmond to close the books, 6-2.

Primavera climbed to 6-0 behind her fifth complete game of the season. She scattered five hits while allowing one walk against one strikeout.

"I felt pretty good today," said the 15-year-old Primavera. "I thought I did as well as I could."

On the game's difference, "Scoring those first two runs was huge," she said. "I thought we all hit the ball a lot better against Disi than we did the first time we faced her. I know I'm seeing the ball much better than I was earlier in the season."

On the game's significance, "It's still pretty big. Springstead's one of our rivals," added Primavera.

From the visitors' dugout, wily Shark skipper Ernie Chatman believed Springstead's four errors, especially the two in the fifth to untie the game, were critical.

"Without a doubt those two errors, especially on the first bunt situation, helped change the complexion of the game," said Chatman.

On what Chatman took away from his ninth straight win, "We hit some balls real hard and their center fielder had two great plays, same for their shortstop (Abby Oliver)," pointed out the Lady Shark skipper. "I thought Chyloe hit the ball hard every time. She was our leading hitter last year (.413)."

On Primavera not maintaining the shutout, "The biggest thing is Abbey's got to get the ball down," noted Chatman. "I don't care what level of ball you're playing. As a pitcher, your M.O. (modus operandi) has to be to limit walking people and keeping the ball down."

Though Springstead suffered its seventh loss, consider the won-lost records of the extreme schedule it has played so far: Mitchell (12-0), NCT (9-0), Hernando (9-1), Citrus (8-1) and Tampa-Academy of the Holy Names (7-4).

That's a combined 45-6 or .882 percent - so it's not like the Lady Eagles have played a bunch of cream puffs - just the opposite.

On one hand, veteran Springstead mentor Craig Swartout was frustrated with his team's inability to make plays.

"You can't win games when you can't catch a fly ball. Our mistakes really hurt us," he said. "I've got to do a better job coaching. We're leaving games on the field."

On Tuesday's silver lining, "We got a great game from Shelbi (Ard) in center. We saw Brittni (Desmond) respond with two solid base knocks, and Sarah (Kelly) had a tremendous hit for us, too - those are all encouraging signs. Sure, I'm disappointed that we lost, but I saw some things that should help us down the line."

Nature Coast Technical 6, Springstead 2

123 456 7 R H E

NCT 000 023 1 - 6 10 2

SPG 000 000 2 - 2 5 4

NCT - Primavera and C. Gonzalez.

SPG - Disi and Fischbach.

W - Primavera (6-0). L - Disi (4-6).

2B - NCT: K Gonzalez, C. Gonzalez; SPG: Disi, Kelly.

3B - NCT: Harvey.

Records - Nature Coast Technical (9-0 overall, 5-0 county), Springstead (4-7 overall, 0-3 county).

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