GHS softball shuts out Santa Fe to complete sweep

By Curtis Michaud
Twitter – @goodvibescurt

The GHS softball team shutout visiting Santa Fe, 6-0, on Tuesday night to complete a 2-game season sweep of the Raiders.

The Hurricanes (8-2), who previously lost to nationally ranked Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton), 13-3, quickly bounced back with a shut-out performance against the Raiders (6-5) behind junior pitcher Kyra Hornsby.

“We came off of a big loss on Saturday,” said Gainesville head coach Chris Chronister. “Tonight, we executed the game plan offensively, defensively and base running.”

Gainesville finished the game with 11 hits, displaying their versatility and focus on the defensive end. That was a vastly different approach from their first meeting with Santa Fe, where they hit four home runs in a 26-15 shootout.

“We talked to the team before the game and told them we can’t depend on scoring 26 runs in this game,” Chronister said. “That just doesn’t happen every night.”

Hornsby had a six-hit performance and three strikeouts with two coming in the second inning, an inning where Santa Fe had their best chance to put some runs on the board.

Raiders’ senior Sam Dunton started off the inning with a single followed by junior Maddie Martin hitting a double towards center field to put runners in scoring position on third and second base.

That’s when Hornsby started to get into a little groove by striking out the next two batters, followed by walking Amy Crosby, to load the bases.

Where it looked like Hornsby was in a bit of a jam, ‘Canes centerfielder Jayla Clark ends the inning with a fly ball put out.

“She was struggling a little bit locating her pitches earlier in the game,” said Chronister. “She settled down late and got us out of a tough spot.”

Gainesville then drew first blood in the third inning when senior Brianna Boggs drove in two runs – Ayanna Woodard and Parris Wiggs – with a single to center field giving GHS a 2-0 lead.

The Hurricanes scored a pair of runs in the fourth and fifth innings, including a double by Karter Tharp, who led off the fourth.

“We just tell her we have a strong defense behind her,” said Chronister, who was very happy on how his junior pitcher played. “They will take care of her if she throws strikes.”

GHS heads into the Tournament of Champions at Oakleaf High School (Orange Park) to face Clay (Green Cove Springs) on Thursday night at 7 p.m., while Santa Fe will host Buchholz on Thursday at 7 p.m.