Nature Coast junior J.P. Gates has literally been unhittable in three starts this season, but on Tuesday he took it to another level.
The hard-throwing southpaw, already committed to the University of Miami, threw a perfect game in a 10-0 win over Central that was shortened to five innings due to the mercy rule.
As if that wasn’t impressive enough, Gates struck out 15. In other words, he fanned every single batter he faced.
“I really didn’t start counting until the third inning. I figured, I stuck it out this far, let’s see how far I could get,” Gates said. “I really don’t like the Central team that much. Last year I threw a no-hitter (against the Bears) that should have been a perfect game. I didn’t want that to happen again. I felt bad that my teammates weren’t more involved defensively, but it’s a win in the books.”
Gates has yet to give up a hit in 13 innings over his three appearances, walking three against 33 strikeouts. He’s also hitting .389 with three doubles, a home run and 10 runs batted in.
In that game against Central (3-4 overall, 3-2 Class 5A, District 7), the Sharks (4-2 overall, 4-2 5A-7) received a 3-for-4 effort from Zach Funkhouser, while Jonathan McMath and Brandon Santiago each drove in two runs.
Nature Coast had also defeated Gulf on Monday, 6-5, with Gates and Funkhouser accounting for two RBI apiece.
Springstead (7-1 overall, 4-1 6A-6) suffered its first loss of the season on Friday, falling at district foe Dunnellon, 5-3. That followed a 3-2 win over Weeki Wachee on Tuesday and a 12-9 victory against Central on Thursday. Kevin Tomas and Dakota Blevens both had three-hit games versus the Bears, and Jack Jasiak added four RBI.
Hernando (5-2 overall, 4-1 5A-7) won 3-2 over Gulf on Tuesday and 8-1 over Hudson on Friday. Anthony Urso drove in two runs against the Buccaneers and four more while going 2-for-2 with a double against the Cobras.
In softball, Nature Coast moved to 9-0 by knocking off Belleview on Monday, 3-1, Weeki Wachee on Wednesday, 3-0, and Fivay on Thursday, 11-0. Chayse Skinner was 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBI in the first game, hit a solo home run in the second tilt and went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI against the Lady Falcons.
While Abbey Primavera got the win in the first two contests, giving up no earned runs over 14 innings, Celine Kordon threw a six-inning no-hitter versus Fivay, walking none and striking out nine. Two batters reached via errors.
Springstead (7-1 overall, 3-1 6A-6) avenged its only loss of the season by beating Dunnellon on Tuesday, 4-0. Paige Pfent hit a triple and drove in a run, while Kayla Cruz added a sacrifice fly. Kama Woodall struck out eight in her seven innings.
The Lady Eagles tacked on a 9-1 win over Clermont-East Ridge on Wednesday, with Cruz going 2-for-4 with two RBI. Woodall whiffed 11 in seven innings.
Hernando (6-4 overall, 6-1 5A-7) had a busy week, first blowing out Hudson on Tuesday, 10-0, and Ridgewood on Wednesday, 15-0. Jesse Sims was 2-for-3 with a triple and three RBI against the Lady Cobras.
Josey Sims was 3-for-3 with three runs and a RBI versus the Lady Rams, while Kaylee Frascatore went 2-for-3 with a double, a triple, two runs and three RBI. Janea Mobley also had drove in three runs. Courtney Cloud threw a no-hitter in the three-inning game, and was 2-for-2 with two RBI.
On Friday and Saturday, the Lady Leopards lost back-to-back at Key West, 3-2 and 10-0.
Nature Coast’s boys and girls track and field teams each took first at the Pasco High Invitational on Thursday. The Lady Sharks scored 119 points, while the boys had 116.
Kaitlyn Pierce came in first in the 400 for the Lady Sharks, running a 1:02.68, and the triple jump, posting a 30-3 3/4. Crystal Ortiz took the discus with a 98-3 toss and Jouie Miller did the same in the shot put with a 35-6. The boys won in the 4x800 (8:52.73) and 4x400 (3:38.96), and Jacorey Hartman captured the long jump (20-5 ¼).
Reilley Bain of Weeki Wachee won the 100 (13.13). Central’s Kayla Dawson won the long jump (15-1 ½). Springstead’s Kyle Manuel placed first in the boys discus (144-3) and the shot put (43-8 ½).
Follow Chris Bernhardt Jr. on Twitter @cpbernhardtjr.