Suwannee dominates Ponte Vedra for berth to state tourney

Suwannee's softball team is heading to its first state tournament after an 8-2 win at Ponte Vedra on Sunday.

Photo submitted by Shirley TenBroeck
Published: Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, May 6, 2013 at 7:54 a.m.

PONTE VEDRA — Audre Bryant may not have been Suwannee's pitcher for most of the season, but the junior lefty has the Bulldogs where they have never been before - the state softball tournament.

Bryant had her third straight dominating pitching performance in the postseason and got plenty of offensive support as Suwannee surprised Ponte Vedra, 8-2, in the Class 5A, Region 1 final on Sunday.

The Bulldogs' (17-9) pitcher was stellar in the circle, confounding a Ponte Vedra side that had scored eight runs in each of its previous two regional games. Bryant finished the game with eight strikeouts and gave up only two hits through the first six innings, six hits throughout the game.

“We didn't pitch (Bryant) a lot this season, but we knew we had something in her,” Bulldogs coach Tommy Chambers said. “She doesn't have overpowering stuff, but her pitches have great movement and she can locate it.”

She didn't have a fastball that blew Sharks (22-6) batters away, but the lefty had an odd screw-drop that dove and darted along the outside corner and baffled nearly every batter she faced.

It wasn't until the fifth when a Ponte Vedra batter made contact solid enough to reach the outfield. Even then, it was a pop fly to right field from Morgan Podany that harmlessly fell into the fielder's glove for an out.

“Her pitches had a strange spin on them all game,” Sharks coach Jerry Shepherd said. “We couldn't make adjustments to it and it hurt us.”

Offensively, the Suwannee couldn't do much wrong. They struck first with a solo home run by Timberly Steichen in the first inning. The lion's share of Suwannee's scoring came in the third, four runs scoring on five hits. Shayla Kicklighter hit a 2-RBI single to score Kaityln Rogers and Jessie TenBroeck, and Haejin Choe hit a double that fell along the warning track in left-center field to score another two.

— Austen Gregerson

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