The Pride edges The Glory, 6-4, in Marion County softball send-off game

By Mike Ridaught
Twitter – @ridaught

On Wednesday night at the Belleview Softball Complex, the Class of 2020 were able to put on a softball uniform one final time in a Marion County send-off game.

The game, which was organized by Belleview softball coach Gary Greer, featured senior softball players from five Marion County public schools.

The Pride, which included Belleview and Vanguard, defeated The Glory (Lake Weir, North Marion, Forest), 6-4, in front of a socially distanced crowd.

“This was a win for both sides because we made sure that the virus would not be our last memory,” said Greer, who was the head coach of the The Pride. “All the coaches, fans and players who participated tonight made sure that the softball community would end the 2020 season with a memory for a lifetime.”

The Pride jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

Vanguard’s Elisabeth Rodriguez, a Trinity Baptist College signee, reached on an error to start the game and scored on an RBI single by her high school teammate Brook Moody.

Moody, who finished 2-for-3, scored the second run and Belleview’s PJ Clemons, a Seminole State College signee, also scored in the inning after a single to right field.

Belleview’s Autumn Oglesby, a 2-time Ocala Star-Banner Pitcher of the Year, started the game in the circle.

After Lake Weir’s Aubrey Maedei and North Marion’s Justine Blackmer walked with one out, Oglesby was able to get Lake Weir’s Zoey Dellinger to pop up to first and then she struck out North Marion’s Destiny Hamilton to end the inning.

“Autumn did what she has done for her entire career,” said Greer. “Get big outs in the biggest of moments. It was very fitting she was on the mound to finish a perfect 2020 when no one could beat her.”

Oglesby, who struck out three in four innings of work, got the win and was recognized as the Sonic Drive-In Player of the Game.

“The day before (on Monday) was my first time pitching in like four months,” said Oglesby, who decided to forego an athletic career at the next level and will instead attend Rasmussen College and pursue a degree in radiology.

She was also 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored.

“I haven’t hit since like last year, so I was super surprised that I even hit the ball tonight,” she said. “It was a good time.”

Moody, who was also 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored, came in relief in the fourth inning and struck out the side. She allowed an unearned run in the sixth inning as The Glory closed the gap to 5-3.

The Pride added an insurance run in the top of the 7th on Oglesby’s RBI single to centerfield.

In the bottom of the seventh, Forest High School’s Hannah Meyer had a one-out triple and scored on an infield hit by Lake Weir’s Victoria Phillips.

With the tying run at the plate, Oglesby was able to get Forest’s Hannah Pirkl to ground into a double play to end the game.

But in what would be the final softball game of 2020, this was a win for both teams according to Greer.

“I was happy to see the excitement in many of the girls getting a chance to go out having one last chance to swing a bat or field a ball, and to do so in front of family and friends,” he said.