Yonge outlasts CHS for 2A-5 title

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By Steve Waters, Sports Editor

GAINESVILLE—It was a shame someone had to lose.

P.K. Young defeated Chiefland, 5-4, last Thursday night in the District 2A-5 Championship game. It was a matchup that gave fans everything they wanted: clutch hits, strong pitching performances, controversial calls and nail-biting finish.

Well, it gave fans almost everything they wanted. The Indians left the field disappointed, despite surging back from a 5-2 early deficit.

“They are crushed,” Chiefland coach Ginger Fuller said. “But I am so proud of them for fighting against a team like that.”

And fight they did. The Indians struck first, with leadoff hitter Taylore Fuller ripping the first pitch she saw for a double. She later stole third, and soon came home after a throwing error for a 1-0 Chiefland lead.

Both teams then effectively kept each other quiet until the bottom of the second, when P.K. Yonge’s Taylor Asbell hit the first pitch she saw for a double.

Kalen McGill then stepped to the plate and brought Asbell home with a double of her own, tying the game. McGill tried to give P.K. the lead later in the frame, but was tagged by Taylore Fuller as she was trying to steal home.

Taylore Fuller gave the Indians a 2-1 lead in the third with a home run to straightaway center.

But the Blue Wave responded in the bottom of the inning, opening the frame with two consecutive singles, by Brittany and Sara Hendrix, followed by a walk to Andrea Suarez to load the bases. McGill then cleared the bases with a double, giving P.K. Yonge a 4-2 lead.

Later in the inning McGill rounded the bases to score off Kassidy Kennard’s single, which turned into a double off an error.

From that point, facing a 5-2 deficit Chiefland’s dugout went quiet. Ginger Fuller said the coaches had to get the Indians worked up to get them back into the game.

“We told them they were a great team when they got here, and they walk out that gate they’re going to be a great team, and nothing they do here will change that,” she said. “They were great when they got here. They’ll be great when they get on that bus.”

The Indians responded in the sixth inning, starting with Janessa Barrios reaching first and Taylore Fuller following with an intentional walk. Amie Biehl moved the runners over with a bunt, and Amber Richardson reached on an intentional walk, to load the bases, though Barrios was later tagged out at third.

Then it was Lindsie Stalvey, who missed a good portion of the season with a wrist injury, who brought Chiefland back to life. Stalvey killed a pitch to center for a double, bringing home Taylore Fuller and Richardson to narrow the deficit to 5-4.

“That was sweet, that brought us back in the game,” Ginger Fuller said.

But P.K. Yonge’s McGill held fast on the mound, keeping Chiefland quiet for the rest of the game and sealing the win for the Blue Wave. McGill pitched a complete game, striking out nine. Ginger Fuller credited McGill for working the far side of the strike zone effectively throughout the game.

“We hadn’t seen a pitcher that works on the outside so much like that,” she said.

The loss sent Chiefland on the road to face Jacksonville Providence in the regional quarterfinals on Tuesday. Ginger Fuller said her Indians would return to practicing the basics the following day to shake off the loss. But she said team members must learn not to take the loss personally.

You win as a team, you lose as a team,” she said. “They’re good kids. They worked hard. They didn’t accomplish their goal, so they’re upset, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Losing stinks.”