Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Watch out for Those Sharks; Ponte Vedra Softball Team Learned from Its Semifinal Run 2 Years Ago

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Watch out for Those Sharks; Ponte Vedra Softball Team Learned from Its Semifinal Run 2 Years Ago

Article excerpt

Byline: Phillip Heilman

VERO BEACH | When the Ponte Vedra softball team reached the Class 5A state semifinals two years ago, there was a level of satisfaction in just being there for a program that had never won a playoff game prior to that season.

That isn't the case this time around.

After rolling through an unbeaten regular season and maneuvering through a challenging playoff bracket to get here, the Sharks are out for blood. Or in this case, the program's first softball state championship, a chase that starts Friday against Plantation American Heritage at 6:05 p.m.

"It feels more real this year because we haven't lost to a team yet," third baseman Brittany McGuire said. "Having been there two years ago, I know what to expect and be ready for and tell the team. We just have to think of it as another softball game. The nerves really get to people at states because it's all or nothing."

Any of the Ponte Vedra players who were with the team during its last trip to the state semifinals know exactly what McGuire is talking about. The Sharks uncharacteristically committed five errors that led to five unearned runs during a 6-4 loss to Belleview at this stage in 2012.

With the benefit of added experience this trip and a bit more seasoning after competing against one of the toughest schedules in the state, the Sharks are confident they will continue to play their distinctive brand of dominant softball.

"I'm excited for not being as nervous this time," said ace Avery Geehr, who was the unfortunate losing pitcher against Belleview when the defense behind her came unglued. "I think our whole team will be a little more calm and play for our seniors and be able to be a little more focused."

Geehr, one of the team's seniors, has been Ponte Vedra's anchor. She missed two games during the District 4-5A tournament due to a knee injury but has otherwise overwhelmed opposing lineups throughout the season. The Georgetown signee enters Friday's game at 25-0 with 256 strikeouts and a 0. …

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