By FRANCIS FEDOR
Stingray baseball saw its season come to an end May 1 at Steinbrenner in first round district playoff action. Sumner saw very tough competition down the stretch and struggled to find momentum. The Warriors (15-10) came into the game as a four-seed and were 8-2 at home while the ‘Rays, the fifth seed, brought an 11-12 (4-7 on the road) record into the match-up.
The game was going to be another challenge for the Stingrays, looking to pull off the upset. Steinbrenner opened the scoring with two runs in the first and added five runs in the second. Sumner managed five hits, including a double by senior Isaac Martinez, but could not crack the scoreboard. Junior Avery Charland allowed six of the 11 runs as the Stingrays’ season that started with much promise, winning six of their first eight games, came to a close.
Stingray head coach Kennedy Duran will look to turn the page, wishing his seniors well as they head on to new adventures, and start working on building confidence and the skills to take on the 2024 schedule. Coach Duran will rely on players like Luke Parson, who led Sumner in batting average at .388. Rising junior Gavin Albritton has shown command of the mound and led the staff with a 2.75 ERA, and rising junior Sebastian Peralta tied for the team lead, driving in 14 RBIs. Sumner has players who will have benefited from strong senior leadership this season and have an opportunity to rise to the challenge with the goal of a district championship in 2024.
Sumner softball also played on May 1, losing 5-0 to South Shore rival Riverview at home, a bit of an upset as the Stingrays (16-5) were the higher seed, playing on their home field. However, Riverview (14-10) had played three more games, a quirk in the schedule, and had five more losses but only two fewer wins. The Sharks opened the scoring in the first with the lead-off hitter coming around to score. Alyssa Vallad and the ’Rays escaped the inning with a nicely turned double play to avoid any further damage. Riverview threatened again in the second with runners at first and second, and Sumner head coach Autum Hernandez swapped out Alyssa for freshman Aliyanis Stubbs, who ended the threat. The Stingrays could not solve the Sharks’ pitcher, senior Madison Carney, who kept the usually powerful Sumner offense without a runner crossing the plate. Alyssa Vallad re-entered the game to finish the night with six strikeouts and surrendered two earned runs. Aliyanis Stubbs also surrendered two earned runs and kept the team in contention for the win, but the offense just couldn’t find a spark to turn the momentum.
Riverview went on to lose 3-2 to the top seeded Plant the next day. Stingray softball will see five seniors who played key roles in the success of the program depart. Megan deVilliers will remain local, playing at the University of Tampa. Savana Robnett, Kayla DiNova and Madison Robitialle will be traveling across state to attend Florida National University. Alyssa Vallad will be attending St. Johns River State College in Palatka. Coach Hernandez will look for the continued emergence of Aliyanis Stubbs who excelled in her freshman season, leading the Stingrays in on-base percentage, and rising junior Jaelyn Joiner, who led all Stingrays in batting average in 2024.