Once again, Faculty Softball Challenge offers something for everyone

Quest, Manatee score victories


Quest's Ashley Shannonhouse (right) gets congratulated by Lauren Sicoli after getting a hit during Wednesday night's Faculty Softball Challenge at the USSSA Space Coast Complex. Quest defeated Viera Charter and Manatee held off a late challenge by Ralph Williams on a fun-filled night for the community.


Great atmosphere. Great weather. Two very entertaining games.

And bragging rights. Don’t forget the bragging rights.

There really wasn’t much more you could ask for from the 2019 Faculty Softball Challenge held at the USSSA Space Coast Complex Wednesday night.

Quest Elementary School defeated Viera Charter 10-6 in the first game and Manatee held off a nine-run rally by Ralph Williams to hold onto a 13-10 victory in the nightcap.

The games matching faculty and staff from the area’s four local elementary schools drew an estimated crowd of 3,000. Children cheered on their favorite teachers, collected postgame autographs and tried to get a souvenir from one of the game’s sponsors, Chick-fil-A.

Members of the USSSA Pride were also on hand to meet fans before the games with some players acting as base coaches during the games.

Under a new format introduced this year, the winners of the 2018 games (Quest and Viera Charter) met in one game while the losers from last year met in the other.

That should set up next year’s games between Quest and Manatee and Ralph Williams vs. Viera Charter in matchups that should once again be fun and competitive.

“We had to sweat it out a little bit at the end, but I think everybody had something to cheer for during the game,” game organizer Todd Zgonc of Manatee said. “Which is great. I want people to go home happy.”

Quest, which beat Manatee last year, continued its strong run of late by scoring seven runs in the second inning to rally from a 2-0 deficit to beat Viera Charter. Quest has now won four in a row.

“This was great. This was awesome,” Josh Allen of Quest said. “Everybody enjoys it. We’ve been working pretty much since after spring break.

“We have a pretty good team. We have fun. That’s what it’s all about. It’s all about fun and it’s all about (doing something) for the kids. As you can see, the kids enjoy it. They love being out here.”

Conversations about Wednesday night’s games could be heard all over the area in the days leading up to the event, and that atmosphere could certainly be felt Wednesday night.

Kids could be heard calling out their teacher’s names. Some brought signs. And if anything, it was a great opportunity for the Viera community to come out an spend the evening together.

“All this week has been absolutely crazy,” Allen said. “(It was) even on the morning news at school. Everything’s all gung-ho. It’s been fun.”

Ralph Williams principal Wes Harold certainly gave his students something to talk to him about, hitting several home runs including a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth.

And that’s another beauty of these games.

“The nice thing is we have one day of school left,” Zgonc said. “You go back to school and the winners and losers are rock stars. That’s the good thing.

“I guarantee you every person did something where someone will say, ‘I saw you do this.’”