Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

5 TO WATCH; Softball

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

5 TO WATCH; Softball

Article excerpt

TEAMS

Bartram Trail: The area's longest consecutive playoff streak ended at 14 seasons last year when the Bears lost to St. Augustine in the district semifinals. Bartram has averaged 24.7 wins per season under coach Jen Harman. There's a good nucleus returning - CF Brooke Barlow (UNF signee), 1B-OF Fayth Davis (FAU commit), SS-2B Melinda Rule (Central Florida State College signee) and RF Alyssa Wash (Saint Leo signee). Two freshman - SS-2B Reedy Davenport and 3B-1B Savannah Parker (FSU commit) - will play big roles on this team. The development of the pitching staff will dictate how this season plays out.

Creekside: The Knights have played for a title and reached the state semifinals in back-to-back seasons. They're coming off of a 21-6 run and bring back six position players who hit .327 or better, including leading batter Hannah Janz (.405), Jennifer Miller (.389) and Leslie Farris (.357). The bigger question, as is the case for most teams in St. Johns County, is how will the pitching staff develop? The graduation of ace Sami Hays leaves a major void for the Knights, although they're deep enough to plow through it with good results.

Mandarin: The Mustangs were the area's best team to not reach the playoffs last year, stalling out in the district tournament to end a 20-5 season. One of the area's best players returns in 1B-3B Kendall Reid (Central Florida signee), a three-time first-team All-First Coast selection with 29 home runs and a .472 batting average. Brianna Bennett returns behind the plate, all-conference pick Leighton Cleveland is back at second base, Kelly Taylor patrols the outfield and Mackenzie Kern will start in the circle.

Oakleaf: The Knights went 16-11 last season and were one inning away from a regional final berth. With quite a bit returning this year, including pitchers Brianna Surrento and Kelsey Sweatt. Tracey Ferguson hit .400 last season and is back for the Knights, too. The best is likely still to come for the Knights. Oakleaf has just four seniors this season and is very young, but also plenty experienced.

Ponte Vedra: The Sharks went 27-1 and reached the state semifinals last year. …

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