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Springstead outlasts rival Nature Coast in softball thriller

Two runs in the bottom of the sixth proved to be the difference

SPRING HILL, FLORIDA- The last time Springstead had beaten rival Nature Coast was back on April 4th, 2022. 

On Tuesday night, the Eagles would finally get over on the Sharks in an anticipated matchup of Hernando County’s top teams. 

Springstead would rally two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and narrowly edge out Nature Coast 7-5. The Eagles grabbed win No. 5 on the season and handed the Sharks their second loss. 

“We got down early and (Nature Coast) is a tough team to play because they’ve got a lot of speed,” Springstead head coach Craig Swartout said. “We knew we were going to have to be crisp. Once they tied the game up, the most important thing was we didn’t stop. We didn’t quit.” 

It was all too important for Springstead (5-1) to stay locked in all throughout against a team they’re all too familiar with. Nature Coast got on the board first when sophomore Caitlin Corrigan drove home senior Zoe Garcia to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead. 

In the battle between freshman pitchers, pitting Springstead’s Alivia Miller and Nature Coast’s Kamryn Ross/Izzy Miller, it would be the former getting the best on this night. 

Miller was able to keep the Sharks’ lineup in check for the most part, with the freshman standout striking out eight batters and yielding eight hits along the way. 

What ended up giving the Eagles the needed boost to separate themselves from the Sharks (6-4) was an explosive bottom of the third inning. 

Miller helped her own cause by driving in sophomore catcher Rachel Rivera to tie the game up at 1-1. On the very next at-bat for Sarah Tipton, the senior would drive home Ava Miller to give Springstead a 2-1 advantage. 

“For whatever reason, the third inning seems to be our inning,” Swartout added. “We were able to get the lineup turned over, so that was big. I’m very proud of the resiliency we had.” 

The Eagles wouldn’t be done, however, with the team adding another run off Ross before Sharks’ head coach Jug Olmstead changed it up and put in Miller on the mound. 

Regardless of the change, the damage had been done, with Springstead leading 5-1. The Sharks slowly chipped away at the lead, eventually tying the game up in the top of the sixth inning behind multiple errors. 

Nature Coast scoring Haley Keane and Carlee Anselmo tied the game up at 5-5. Springstead took the lead for good when senior Alexis Adelman laid down a sacrifice bunt to plate Rivera. 

Ahead 6-5 and adding another run, the Eagles would hold on for the rivalry win. With so many sophomores and freshmen on each side, this Springstead-Nature Coast looks to be one of the top games to catch every season. 

-- Andy Villamarzo | | @sblivefl