Gainesville softball edges Santa Fe (Alachua) in extra innings

Gainesville's Alissa Humphrey struck out 13.

Gainesville’s Alissa Humphrey struck out 13.

By Dylan O’Shea
Twitter – @dylanoshea24

The Gainesville High School Hurricanes defeated the Santa Fe Raiders by a score of 1-0 in eight innings on Wednesday.

This was a match-up between two elite arms in Gainesville’s Alissa Humphrey, a Jacksonville University commit, and Santa Fe’s Hailey Raulerson.

Humphrey went eight innings, surrendering just three hits and zero walks.  She struck out 13 batters.

Raulerson surrendered four hits, three walks and an unearned run in seven and two-thirds innings. Raulerson rang up six Gainesville hitters.

Raulerson’s unearned run came at the bat of the Hurricane’s Natasha Fox, who smacked an RBI single past the second base bag with the bases loaded to give Gainesville the win.

The senior first baseman took the humble approach in response to her game-winning hit, instead choosing to praise her team and respect the opposition.

“I’m really happy that we were able to pull through, as Santa Fe is a good opponent,” said Fox, who was named the Sonic Drive-In Player of the Game.

Gainesville (15-4), ranked 8th in Class 7A, played small ball to draw first and final blood in the eighth. After a leadoff triple by Parris Wiggs, two fielder’s choices and a walk, the stage was set for Fox. The senior first baseman pulled through when Gainesville needed it most.

Fox said she understood the importance of getting a run across to end the game before Santa Fe got the chance to score.

“Every play counts,” she said. “One error and a double ends the game.”

Fox said she was quick to her stance at every pitch, anticipating that the ball would come her way with every opposing swing.

GHS head coach Chris Chronister said he knew how huge the run and subsequent win was for his team.

“We had a few chances earlier in the game,” he said. “Alissa and Natasha did a great job getting us a win. We just needed to put the ball in play; Natasha did a great job.”

Santa Fe did an exceptional job keeping Gainesville scoreless up until that point. Raulerson’s six strikeouts came in the biggest spots of the game, including a strikeout of the Hurricane’s Sidney Karas in the 7th with a runner on third.

Gainesville swept the season series against Santa Fe after both wins went to extras. The first contest finished in a 3-1 Gainesville victory in eight innings on Feb. 22.

Gainesville’s next game is at home against Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton) this Saturday at 1 p.m., followed by a game at 5 p.m. against Oakleaf (Orange Park).  Both teams are nationally-ranked.

Santa Fe (15-4), ranked No. 4 in Class 5A, travels to P.K. Yonge on Thursday at 6 p.m.