Sweatt continues pitching prowess; 13Ks

By Randy Lefko
Posted 4/21/21

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The 20th-ranked University of West Florida softball team, with three Oakleaf High state champion softball graduates on the roster, split a doubleheader at Flagler College on …

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Sweatt continues pitching prowess; 13Ks


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The 20th-ranked University of West Florida softball team, with three Oakleaf High state champion softball graduates on the roster, split a doubleheader at Flagler College on Thursday afternoon, dominating in Game 2 after falling to a late-inning home run in the opener.

With the split, UWF is 26-11 on the year.

For the University of West Flordia, Kelsey Sweatt, one of three college Division I pitchers from the Oakleaf High lineups under coach Christina Thompson that won a state title (2017) and enjoyed numerous Final Four runs, struck out 13 batters over seven innings in a one-hitter in Game 2, marking the third time this year that she has recorded 10 or more strikeouts and tying her single-game high that was set last year. She and West Georgia’s Morgan Goree are the only pitchers in the Gulf South Conference with three games with 10 or more strikeouts this season.

Also a starter for the Argonauts, shortstop Mika Garcia is a staple in the infield and one of West Florida top baserunners.

At catcher, West Florida utilized Angela Agurkis with senior catcher Jacqueline Poling.

GAME 2: UWF 7, Flagler 0

Kelsey Sweatt threw a gem against the Saints in Game 2. She threw seven innings and struck out 13 in her third shutout of the year, improving her record to 12-3 with the victory. She became the second pitcher in the GSC this season to hit the 100-strikeout mark.

Sweatt has kicked into another gear in April, with 48 strikeouts over 33.0 innings across six outings this month and a 1.91 ERA during that time. Each of her three appearances with 10 or more strikeouts have come in April, as well.

West Florida gave Sweatt plenty of offense and quickly got ahead with a four-spot in the second inning to take a 4-0 lead. Jacquelynne Poling scored on a bases-loaded grounder from Mika Garcia that was bobbled in the infield by Flagler, and Howard brought in two with a sharp ground ball up the middle and a throwing error from Flagler pitcher Madelyn Wise.

Garcia finished with three at bats; one run scored and one run batted in. Garcia was left on base twice.

Agurkis batted three times and had one strikeout.

In the second inning, Agurkis smashed a long fly ball to right field. Garcia reached base on an error at shortstop and scored Poling who had doubled as leadoff batter. Garcia would advance to second then score off an error on a second shortstop error.

In the third, Agurkis struckout and Garcia popped out to second base.

In the fifth, Agurkis grounded out to shortstop with Garcia reaching on a fielder’s choice grounder, then reaching second base on a wild pitch.

Kara Wilson capped off the scoring with an RBI single to shortstop.

UWF added three more runs in the fourth, starting with a leadoff single from Howard, who also stole second. Wilson drove in Howard with another RBI single, and Ally Merrill hit her sixth home run of the season just a batter later to stretch the lead to 7-0.

Wilson and Merrill each had two RBIs in the game, and Wilson, Poling, and Kayla Mayo had two hits apiece.

GAME 1: UWF 0, Flagler 2

Starting pitchers Grace Gilbert and Kyra Gipson battled in Game 1, with Flagler’s Gipson and the Saints coming out on top after a late home run.

UWF put together its own scoring threats in the fourth and fifth innings, though no runs would score.

Flagler broke the scoreless tie in the sixth inning with a two-run home run from first baseman Alyssa Velez, and that would be the only scoring in the game.

Garcia got two at bats; a flyout to centerfield in the third inning and a groundout in the sixth inning.

Gilbert’s start continued a string of solid outings from the Chipley, Florida, native. Since March 28, she has a 1.46 ERA over 24.0 innings and a .165 opponent batting average that stretches across her last five appearances.

West Florida next play at West Georgia on April 24-25.

In other college softball action, Oakleaf High’s Alex Acevedo, also a member of the 2017 state champions, is a a senior infielder for the Syracuse University softball team. Acevedo has playing time in six games; North Carolina, Campbell, Boston College and, most recently, Florida State University. Aceved has six at bats with one run batted in against Boston.

At Florida State University (now 31-5, ninth ranked in NCAA Div. I) is redshirt freshman pitcher Brianna Enter of St. Johns Country Day School.

Enter played in 13 games in the COVID-shortened 2020 season with a one win, two loss record and a 4.12 earned runs against average.

In 2021, Enter has one appearance.

At the University of Central Florida (30-12-1), pitcher Madi Davis is a redshirt sophomore. In 2020, Davis finished with a 5.25 ERA with three appearances.

McFarland: Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week

At the University of Maryland, former Oakleaf High outfielder Jaeda McFarland is a freshman with 28 starts in 28 games and a .322 batting average off 90 at bats. McFarland has 29 hits; four doubles, four triples, one homer and 12 RBIs.

In an April 9 game with Michigan State, McFarland had three at bats with a triple and a double in a 9-1 Maryland win.

In the first inning, McFarland doubled, then scored off two grounders.

McFarland was named a Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week for the Michigan State series with McFarland’s honor the first for Maryland since March 2020. McFarland notched eight putouts, and lead the team in runs (5) on five hits with an impressive .833 slugging percentage throughout the series. Her fifth hit at the plate was a triple that set her up to score the game winning run on Saturday night for the Terps to take the series over the Spartans 5-4 (3-1 overall). McFarland’s performance has extended her appearance at the top of the team leader board with 13 runs and 27 hits overall.

The freshman also leads in several other team categories including RBIs (12), doubles (4), triples (4), stolen bases (7), total bases (42), and game starts (24). She is currently first overall in the Big Ten in triples (4), sixth in fielding with 56 putouts and a 1.000 percentage, and 16th in hitting with her .342 average - one of the youngest players throughout the conference to appear on any list.

In the third, McFarland tripled down the right field line, then scored off a double to put Maryland up 3-0.

In the fourth, McFarland singled, reached third on a throwing error then scored off a singled to put Maryland up 7-1.

At Pensacola State College (23-6), Jaycie Brookshire, a power hitting first baseman for Oakleaf, is a freshman first baseman with 14 games played and a .250 batting average. Brookshire has six RBIs.

In her most recent game, Brookshire, in an 11-6 win over Northwest Florida State College, had four at bats; one hit, one RBI and two strikeouts while being left on base twice.

At Palm Beach Atlantic University (12-11), sophomore pitcher Cambria Arturo is a transfer pitcher from Jacksonville University after graduating Oakleaf High School.

Arturo holds a 3.24 ERA with a 3-6 record in nine game starts and 11 appearances. Arturo has struck out 37 batters with 55 hits against in 62.2 innings pitched.

Arturo’s most recent game action was a no-hit losing 1-0 effort against Rollins College. Arturo struck out seven and gave up no hits in the loss. Rollins scored off an infield error and sacrifice bunt in the top of the seventh inning.


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