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Unbeaten P.K. Yonge softball met its match at last, Thursday, when Chiefland girls surprised them with a 3-0 shutout. Lady Indians' Head Coach Wayne Weatherford had an ace up his sleeve in his unusual pitching staff. Although many fast-pitch teams ride a single pitcher all season, Weatherford has traditionally used a staff of at least two, which he alternates in roughly equal proportion. Pitchers take turns starting and closing, and rarely throw complete games.
This week, Weatherford threw opponents a changeup, sending heat-slinger Amber Richardson out against rebuilding Newberry for a five-inning quickie and saving off-speed riddler Brittany Davis for the tilt against P.K. His scheme worked; P.K.'s batters, accustomed to murdering cheese, whiffed all night against BD's fast-looking slow ball. Davis had eight strikeouts on the two-hitter, and Chiefland's defense gave up only two errors.
The Indians needed some time to get their bats in order. P.K.'s hurler, eighth-grader Taylor White, allowed five hits in her complete game, but not until the third inning could Chiefland get going on the bases. Lindsie Stalvey drew a walk in the third and stole her way home to put the Indians on the board. Chiefland rode the 1-0 advantage until the fourth inning, when Christen Trail hit a double and came home on an error. Janessa Barrios nailed the door shut with her sixth-inning walk that turned into the Indians' third run.
Weatherford was jubilant in the win.
“They couldn't figure out her (Davis') speed,” he said.
“I pitched Amber at Newberry because I didn't want P.K. to come here and see the same thing they see everywhere. Also, Brittany was anticipating this game all week, and as a captain, I knew she would do anything to get that win.”
Defense also figured strongly in the victory.
“Our outfield was great,” Weatherford said.
“There were three or four catches out there that, if we didn't get to them, really would have hurt us.”
The upset makes the three district leaders, Chiefland, Williston and P.K., all even in the district with one loss each. Weatherford says the Indians can't let their guard down, even so.
“We'll have to get better as the season goes on, because you know they will,” he said.
Freshman slugger Taylore Fuller had no hits Thursday but suffered no attendant drop in stats. Blue Wave head coach Paul Silverman, Fuller's travel ball coach, said he was careful to pitch around her.
“We weren't going to let Taylore beat us, and to her credit, she was very disciplined at the plate,” he said.
“Other hitters would get anxious and just swing, but she waited us out.”
Fuller had three walks in three plate appearances.
Chiefland travels to Williston tomorrow (7 p.m., JV 5 p.m.) for another red-hot district challenge. The Lady Devils dealt the Indians their only loss in their last meeting, so the get-back memo will be circulating in Chiefland.