Stifanic, Galhouse go yard, as Lady Eagles bury Panthers in 2½ frames, 15-0


In 14-hit attack, Kolwicz,

Rizzuto, Galhouse,

DiCono rap two hits each


SPRING HILL – After a pair of painful back-to-back narrow road losses last week at Dunnellon and Crystal River – both by 2-1 counts – was there cause for concern for the Springstead offense?

In the Lady Eagles’ four other games – all victories – the Spring Hill crew tallied 48 runs.

So which Mariner Boulevard bunch would begin the week Tuesday night against Class 6A, District 6 visiting foe Lecanto?

The response arrived quickly.

LHS’ starting right fielder dropped the first two balls to open the game.

SHS immediately took advantage parading 12 batters to the plate while plating six runs on five hits. The uprising was highlighted by sophomore Tiana Stifanic’s two-run homer.

SHS maintained the pressure with eight runs on seven hits in the second frame punctuated by senior pitcher Mariah Galhouse’s two-run homer to left, 14-0.

With one out and sacks loaded in the bottom of the third, Galhouse brought down the curtains with a looping RBI single to left plating Mackenzie McIntyre for the mercy rule to be applied after 2½ frames, 15-0.

SHS aftermath

In all, the Eagles’ (3-2 6A-6, 52 overall) nine starters all rapped at least one hit off junior Becca Adams and reliever Courtney Plante.

Madison DiCono

The hosts finished with a game-high 14 safeties including two apiece by senior shortstop Emily Kolwicz, Galhouse, junior first sacker Hannah Rizzuto and senior second baseman Madison “Softball” DiCono.

On the hill, Galhouse faced 10 batters over three innings to improve to 4-2 overall behind her third shutout of the season.

The right-hander issued one free pass against three strikeouts and yielded one hit.

Trailing 14-0 with one out in the top of the third, Sara Hollis slapped an 0-2 pitch over her head just past third base for the Panthers’ lone hit.

Raquel Camuglia

Moments later, Hollis attempted to steal second base, but was cut down on a perfect peg from sophomore catcher Raquel Camuglia to Kolwicz.

In all, the hosts converted all 13 defensive chances it faced against the Citrus County club.

First-year third sacker Alesha France collected two assists and turned in the game’s web gem.

Alesha France

With no outs and Kelli Thomas on board on a hit by pitch to open the second inning, freshman Ava Armato was called to sacrifice.

But on her bunt attempt, she got under it and France rushed in and made the grab and fired to Rizzuto to complete the game’s lone twin killing.

Meanwhile, LHS committed a game-high four errors to dip to 1-2 in 6A-6, 4-3 overall.

Post-game chatter

Springstead right fielder Brooke Ayo entered the game 1-for-13, hitting .077.

She finished 1-for-2, plus a walk and two odd runs batted in,

With the sacks loaded in the first inning, Ayo crushed a 1-0 offering to deep left-center.

LHS centerfielder Madison Fox reached up for the deep drive before crashing into the fence. Somehow, she held on to the ball for the putout, but on the play, Rizzuto and Galhouse both scored.

Brooke Ayo

The RBIs were Ayo’s first of the season. She singled up the middle in the second inning and was left stranded on a walk.

“We were all seeing the ball really well,” identified Ayo, 18.

On adjusting to the slower pitching, “It’s a little difficult, but we kept putting the ball in play,” added Ayo.

On the game’s significance, “It was good for us to start hitting before tomorrow’s big game (at NCT).”

Tianna Stifanic

Rewinding her first-ever clout, “I was just looking to hit a line drive,” explained Stifanic, 15. “When I hit it, it felt good, It felt like I hit a nice pitch.”

On the team‘s offensive production, “It’ll boast our confidence before tomorrow’s game,” added Stifanic.

On Galhouse’s mound efforts, “She did amazing. She always does.”

Mariah Galhouse

Galhouse, who cracked six homers in 2018, hadn’t hit a round tripper in any of her last nine games dating back to last season.

“I was looking for a meat ball pitch right down the middle,“ declared Galhouse, 17.

On putting away LHS early, “Tonight gives us some confidence before we play Nature Coast. Everyone swung the bat really well.”

Coaches’ corner

Seventeenth-year SHS skipper Craig Swartout refereed to last week’s games, “Losing to Dunnellon and Crystal River were both tough losses. It’s not like we got out-hit or out-played, but sometimes you play well and lose.”

Craig Swartout Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Asked to describe his team’s mindset, “We came out aggressive and ready to put the bat on the ball. When every starter gets at least one hit, it doesn’t get any better.

“… I think Softball (DiCono) is putting it together. The last few games, she’s hit nothing by hard smashes. Defensively, Alesha (France) made a couple nice plays at third base.”

After seven games, “We’re still a work in progress,” noted Swartout. “We’re looking for our identity. We’re still finding out who we are. A game like this really helps.

“It was good to swing the bats the way we did, hopefully, we’ll have some carryover beginning tomorrow.”

Looking ahead

SHS travels Wednesday to Nature Coast Technical for a 7 p.m. start.

Springstead 15,

Lecanto 0 (2½ Innings)































LEC – Adams, Plante (2) and Thomas.

SPG – Galhouse and Camuglia.

W – Galhouse (5-2). L –Adams (0-1).

3B – SPG: Kolwicz, DiCono.

3B – none.

HR – SPG: Stifanic, Galhouse.

Records – Lecanto (1-2 6A-6, 4-3 overall), Springstead (3-2 6A-6, 5-2 overall).


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