Vanguard blanks Lake Weir in softball

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Posted March 2, 2023 | By Mark Pinson
Special to Ocala Gazette
Photos By Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette

Vanguard sophomore Destiny Horcajo hurled a complete-game shutout and sophomore second baseman Hannah Davis had three hits and scored two runs to lead the Knights to a 7-0 win over Lake Weir on Thursday night.

The win improved Vanguard, which has seven sophomores on its roster, to 4-0 on the season.

“Definitely not our best performance but we executed some things well that we have been working on in practice,” said Knights coach Carrie Vance. “Destiny pitched well and is a good ball player and an athlete. Hannah is very disciplined at the plate, is a really good hitter and knows which pitch she likes.”

The loss dropped Lake Weir to 1-4 overall.

“Vanguard is a really good team and I think we held our own.” said first-year Hurricanes coach Paul Verduga. “We are growing as a team and will be a force to be reckoned with in the near future.”

Vanguard started the scoring in the top of the first inning as Davis lined a one-out double to center field, advanced to third base on a wild pitch and scored on a two-out infield error by Lake Weir to give the Knights a 1-0 lead.

Horcajo, who scattered six hits, gave up a leadoff single to Lake Weir’s Kyra Rigozzi in the bottom of the frame, but got a strikeout and a double play to escape the jam.

Vanguard went back to work in the top of the second inning as sophomore Kaylee Myers drilled a leadoff double to left field, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Mariah Wynn and scampered home on a wild pitch by Lake Weir right-hander Harper Foote. Riley Arnold walked and scored on a two-out base hit by Horcajo to put the Knights on top by a score of 3-0.

Lake Weir’s Rigozzi, who went 3-for-3, smacked a leadoff double in the top of the fourth inning, but Horcajo got a fly ball and a timely double play to keep the Hurricanes off the scoreboard.

Vanguard, which banged out 10 hits, scored a run in the top of the fourth inning and tacked on three insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning as Davis stroked an RBI double and Lilly Land belted a run-scoring triple to plate Davis. Land raced home on a wild pitch by Lake Weir reliever Beth Levy, who pitched the final four innings for the Hurricanes.

Lake Weir, a young team, battled in its final at-bat as Foote ripped a one-out double to right-center field, but Horcajo, who walked none and struck out seven, bore down and whiffed the next two Hurricane batters to seal the win and preserve the shutout.

“Destiny isn’t our main pitcher but she stepped in the circle and pitched well,” coach Vance said. “Our defense was solid and held us in there. We’re looking forward to a successful season and we just need to come out and play hard.”

Vanguard is back on the diamond on Friday night with a home game against Umatilla, while Lake Weir has a home game against Citrus on Friday.

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