ORANGE PARK - With a barrage of batting power, led by homers and triples from Ciara Gibson and Khloe Banks, the Oakleaf High softball team demolished 5th ranked in Class 5A Gainesville High 14-3 to …
ORANGE PARK - With a barrage of batting power, led by homers and triples from Ciara Gibson and Khloe Banks, the Oakleaf High softball team demolished 5th ranked in Class 5A Gainesville High 14-3 to win the Tournament of Championships team title Saturday in a tournament hosted by Ridgeview High School.
Oakleaf, now 8-1-1, faced off against Gainesville, now 10-2, after defeating 7A-East Ridge out of Clermont 8-7 and Episcopal 8-4 with both games hinging on high-scoring innings off strong bats by the Lady Knights lineup. East Ridge, who lost in 2019 to Oakleaf in the Class 8A region championship, fell to 8-4 while 3A-Episcopal fell to 5-3. In 2019, Oakleaf, under coach Christina Thompson, lost 7-6 to Winter Springs in the state semifinal.
After losing a ninth inning 7-6 battle to Ridgeview on March 12, coach Tony Voiro’s batting lineup exploded for the tournament with Banks ripping a two run triple against East Ridge in a four run fourth inning that put the Knights ahead to win game one.
Against Episcopal, Gibson bashed a homer in a six run sixth inning. Gibson also hit a triple in the game.
Against Gainesville, Oakleaf had a 17 hit night against the rugged Gainesville defense with three runs in the first inning highlighted by a run-scoring triple from Meshayla Pettaway.
In the fourth inning, Oakleaf kept the gas pedal on the floor with back-to-back doubles from Kayla Aldridge and Banks with a series of singles punching in seven runs.
In an upset of sorts for the host Panthers, Ridgeview (11-2) lost their opener 7-0 to 6A-Atlantic Coast, then rebounded to beat Clay 7-2 in game two before finishing with a 3-2 win over 3A-West Nassau (7-4). The Atlantic Coast team, led by two run scoring triples from senior Erin Moon, one off Brittany Michaels, the other off Dani Rios, was winless before the tournament and had been beaten by Ridgeview 9-4 in the season opener. Michaels did finish with nine strikeouts. Clay, with eight errors, opened with a 15-7 loss to Gainesville followed by the 7-2 loss to Ridgeview before losing 6-3 to East Ridge. Against Gainesville, Clay’s infield turned three double plays. Pitcher Gabrielle Ellis got stung for 11 of Gainesville’s 19 hits and nine runs in four innings.
Oakleaf Softball Schedule
Record as of March 14: 8-1-1
Feb. 18 Beat Ridgeview 3-1 (Oakleaf two runs in sixth; 0-0 to fourth, Khloe Banks walks, steals second, Ciara Gibson Sac Fly, Banks to third, scores on passed ball; 6th: Banks walk, steals second, Madi McDaniels walks, error scores Banks, error scores McDaniels; RHS: Ashlyn Halford 2 doubles; P Brittany Michael 12Ks. OHS: McDaniels 5Ks, Tatiana Robayo RBI)
Feb. 23 Beat Creekside 16-4 (McDaniels 5RBIs, 7Ks, OHS 6 Runs in sixth, 4 Runs in fourth, 10 Hits, Khloe Banks: Triple, 2RBIs; Doubles: McDaniel, Trinidi Murrell; 6 Stolen bases)