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Keystone Hts season-open week treacherous

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 12/31/69

Keystone, Oakleaf, and Ridgeview rock preseason OAKLEAF - The upcoming softball season looking to be another jam-packed season of state-level competition in Clay County with returners promising to …

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Keystone Hts season-open week treacherous


Posted

Keystone, Oakleaf, and Ridgeview rock preseason


OAKLEAF - The upcoming softball season looking to be another jam-packed season of state-level competition in Clay County with returners promising to make 2024 yet another strong campaign for local teams.

"We got a strong pitching staff with Charley Maddox back with a new freshman girl giving us a second arm," said Oakleaf coach Heather Han, who last year guided Oakleaf to a region playoff berth in the very tough region 1-6A lineup of notables powerhouses like Navarre, Lake Howell, Hagerty and Pace. "One of our big hitters late last year, Amya Morales, is on the mound time tonight against Baker County who should be strong again this year."

Han was directing the Oakleaf Clash of Champions preseason tournament last week with local powers from Ridgeview, Creekside, Baldwin, Yulee, Baker County and Ponte Vedra locking horns before this week's season started up.

"The rain moved us to a double header tonight (Friday) with Tocoi Creek and Ponte Vedra and we are going to be tested real fast," said Ridgeview coach Angela Agurkis, who was on her former home turf as a state champion catcher for Oakleaf in her high school days. "Saige (Bialek) is stronger and has seen some great lineups and will be a powerhouse this year on the mound. We got some veterans back like Haylee McCrea and Hannah Crosby with Ky Torrence back behind second base. We lost Mary Girgis who was our fighting force last year."

Agurkis, who guided Ridgeview to a district title last year and a region final; region semi win over Clay, in her rookie season, looked like she had her team in eight-cylinder mode against Tocoi Creek with two quick runs off successive hits and crafty baserunning from McCrae and company.

Keystone Heights also played in the Oakleaf tournament and came in with a strong mound presence as well with Caitlin Frampton and Kadence Massey top returners with Ashley Nugent getting mound time in a Tuesday game against Yulee.

Keystone Heights coach Jessica Marquart has a great outfield led by senior Abbie Roach, but will need to find another spark plug to replace graduate superstar Kiley Channell, now at FAU.

Keystone Heights and Oakleaf will square off on Thurs., Feb. 22 in an early season barometer gauntlet with Baker County, Ridgeview and Clay on Marquart's agenda early in the season.

Season openers

Tues., Feb. 20

Keystone Creek (3A regions) vs. Tocoi Creek (4A regions)

Ponte Vedra (5A regions) at Oakleaf (6A regions)

Baldwin (3A Final Four) at Clay (5A regions)

Paxon at Middleburg (5A regions)

Wed., Feb. 21

Creekside at Clay

Thurs., Feb. 22

Oakleaf at Keystone Heights

Fleming Island at Baldwin

Palatka at Orange Park

West Nassau (3A regions) at Middleburg

Fri., Feb. 23

Baker County (4A regions) at Keystone Heights

Ridgeview (5A regions) at Trinity Christian

Fleming Island at Atlantic Coast

Clay (5A regions) at Ponte Vedra

Orange Park at Creekside (7A regions)

Mon., Feb. 26

Ridgeview at Keystone Heights

Bradford at Orange Park

Baker County at Middleburg

Tues., Feb. 27

Oakleaf at West Nassau

Palatka at Ridgeview

Bishop Kenny (5A regions) at Orange Park

Middleburg at Trinity Christian