Despite a brutal defeat in the season opener, Seabreeze softball is starting to hit its stride.
When Seabreeze’s softball team faced rival Matanzas in the 2019 season opener on Feb. 20, the Sandcrabs lacked confidence. The Sandcrabs were fresh of an 11-9 season the year prior and were under the direction of a new head coach, Shanah Thomas.
They saw an opposing team with experience, great hitting and tough defense, and it intimidated them.
The Pirates run-ruled Seabreeze 10-0 on the Sandcrabs’ home field.
The Sandcrabs have grown so much since that defeat.
“We’re definitely looking to take the district title. I’m ready to take it this year, and we have it in us to do it, for sure.”
Shanah Thomas, Seabreeze coach
They took their bruises and lumps. They ironed out the kinks. They identified their strengths and improved upon their weaknesses. Under the careful and constructive direction of Thomas, they learned how to mesh their individual personalities and talents together.
When the Sandcrabs faced Matanzas for the second time this season on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 3, the Sandcrabs played with a competitive fire.
“Before, we were almost expecting to lose,” Seabreeze senior Shayanne Bloodworth said. “We were going to fight this time.”
The Sandcrabs didn’t win. But they pushed Matanzas, who was 12-0 at the time, to the brink, falling short 3-2 at Matanzas High School.
No coach or player enjoys a loss, but there was still a sense of accomplishment among the Sandcrabs' players and coaching staff.
“It’s a victory in the steps that we’ve taken to get here,” Thomas said. “It was time for us to step up and give them a little bit of a scare.”
Thomas, a graduate of Seabreeze High School in 2012, expected the team to struggle this season — and they did, losing three of their first seven games, including a 16-11 defeat to Deltona.
But now the team is headed in the right direction — even with a loss to Matanzas.
“We’ve definitely conquered what we needed to work on, and we’re pushing opposing teams to the limit,” said Thomas, who was the head coach at Father Lopez the past two seasons. “That’s our goal.”
The Sandcrabs expect to be in competition for a district championship by the end of the season.
“I think we’re going to be one team to beat,” Bloodworth said. “Here we come.”