Nature Coast

Stacy grand slam sparks Sharks

Top photo by Alice Mary Herden
Head shot by Chris Bernhardt Jr.

Nature Coast senior Mason Stacy drove in five runs and hit a grand slam in Friday's 18-1 victory at Hernando. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

BROOKSVILLE – Mason Stacy came into Friday night’s game at Emerson Field without a home run on the season, and it’s certainly debatable whether he should have left with one.
Regardless, there’s no arguing the impact of Stacy’s third-inning grand slam that allowed Nature Coast to take control over host Hernando, leading to an 18-1 victory in six innings.
“That was huge I think. Because we were having trouble hitting until then, and then right after that we just piled it on,” Stacy said.

Sharks senior Willey hopes to go out strong

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Nature Coast senior Dakota Willey has gone 15-1 in singles play this season out of the No. 1 spot. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

On Wednesday, something happened to Dakota Willey and the Nature Coast boys tennis team that hadn’t all season. They lost. It took a private school out of Tampa with a traditionally stout program, Jesuit, to finally hand the Sharks their first loss of 2016, 7-0. Willey, their senior No. 1 singles player, also went down for the first time, falling to Gantt Meredith, 6-1, 6-1.

Sharks senior Willey hopes to go out strong

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Nature Coast senior Dakota Willey has gone 15-1 in singles play this season out of the No. 1 spot. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

On Wednesday, something happened to Dakota Willey and the Nature Coast boys tennis team that hadn’t all season. They lost.
It took a private school out of Tampa with a traditionally stout program, Jesuit, to finally hand the Sharks their first loss of 2016, 7-0. Willey, their senior No. 1 singles player, also went down for the first time, falling to Gantt Meredith, 6-1, 6-1.
“You never like to lose. But it’s not a big deal,” Willey said. “It happens to everybody sometimes. I’ll move on and learn from it.”

Kolwicz’s walk-off gives Springstead wild win

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Springstead third baseman Emily Kolwicz hit a walk-off three-run home run against Nature Coast Tuesday night. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

SPRING HILL – When Emily Kolwicz looks back on the first home run of her prep career, she’ll have quite a story to tell. Springstead’s freshman leadoff hitter made it a memorable moment for all who attended Tuesday night’s softball game against visiting Nature Coast. Three days after the Lady Eagles captured a crisply played 1-0 victory over the Lady Sharks in the Leopard Slam final, Kolwicz’s three-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh provided the hosts with an improbable 10-9 triumph over their county rivals.

Sharks stay hot behind Gates

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Nature Coast pitcher J.P. Gates goes through his wind-up during Tuesday night's game against Central. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

BROOKSVILLE – Even without looking, the sound tells the story of J.P. Gates. As soon as one of his fastballs hits the catcher’s mitt, it becomes quite clear that the Nature Coast sophomore throws hard. Real hard.

The Shark southpaw has attracted plenty of attention, from fans to scouts, with his 90-plus mile per hour heat. “He’s a special player. You don’t get too many of those guys. He’s a battler. He likes the competition,” Nature Coast head coach Frank Vitale said. “He’s a rarity. Those kids don’t come around much.”

Primavera helps Lady Sharks stay perfect

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Nature Coast pitcher Abbey Primavera during Tuesday's 10-0 win over Hernando. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

BROOKSVILLE – Nature Coast and Abbey Primavera had just completed another night at the office Tuesday night, walking off the softball diamond with another notch in the win column.
The Lady Sharks moved to 9-0 on the season behind a 10-0 victory over visiting county-rival Hernando, also a Class 5A, District 7 foe.
Primavera (7-0) tossed another shutout, the junior scattering five singles and two walks while striking out seven across six innings of work.

Baxter’s play a silver lining for Sharks

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Nature Coast forward Jordan Baxter goes up for a shot against Zephyrhills in Tuesday night's regional semifinal. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

BROOKSVILLE – Jordan Baxter had come up big for Nature Coast’s boys basketball team in another pivotal postseason contest, but the only numbers that truly mattered to the junior were on the scoreboard. The 6-foot-3 forward scored 10 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, but the Sharks lost to visiting Zephyrhills in a Class 5A, Region II semifinal on Tuesday night, 61-51.
“It wasn’t good enough to get the win,” Baxter said. “I just feel really bad for the seniors. I’m not happy with it at all.”

Sports Notebook: Lady Shark lifters shine at states

Top photo submitted
All other photography by Alice Mary Herden

Nature Coast weightlifters Ashley Gentz (left) and Samanta Traudt display their gold medals won at the Class 1A FHSAA Finals in Kissimmee on Friday. Photo submitted

As the Nature Coast boys basketball team celebrated with its district championship trophy Friday night, the school’s girls weightlifting coach, Sharon Elliott, was among the faculty members filing out of the stands. Noticeably hanging from her neck was a silver medal, a reminder of what her own squad had accomplished just a few hours earlier. Yes, it was a good day to be a Shark.

Lady Bears, Sharks absorb tough soccer losses

Photography Alice Mary Herden

Soccer

For much of Thursday night’s Class 2A, Region II girls soccer quarterfinal, it seemed as if Central had the upper hand against Gainesville-P.K. Yonge. It just didn’t show up on the scoreboard. Despite creating more chances, the Lady Bears couldn’t find a way to put the ball in the back of the net.

Gold the goal for Contegiacomo

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

When an athlete finishes as the state runner-up, the expectations next season become pretty straightforward.
For Nature Coast senior Anthony Contegiacomo, there is only one way his final prep wrestling campaign can end in a satisfactory manner. Last year, Contegiacomo placed second in the Class 1A state meet at 220 pounds, so there’s just a single rung left on the ladder to climb.

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