VERO BEACH — They are officially a dynasty.
The Canterbury School, the small school from St. Petersburg, won its third state softball championship in four years on Thursday, topping Monticello Aucilla Christian, 1-0, in the Class 2A final.
The Crusaders, the No. 1-ranked team in the 2A poll, won their first title in 2011 and the 2A title last season. With the championship, the program ties Palm Harbor University with the most in Pinellas County history.
“It feels really good because we’ve worked hard all season to get back to where we were last year,” said freshman pitcher Kama Woodall. “We’re just trying to finish out every season the way we want it to.”
With one out in the top of the sixth inning, freshman catcher Danielle Romanello hit an RBI triple to score Taylor Bump, giving the Crusaders the lead. Until Romanello’s triple, the Crusaders (21-6) had three hits against Aucilla’s Whitney Stevens.
“We were making contact early, we just weren’t getting the good part of the bat on it until later in the game,” Romanello said.
In the bottom of the seventh, Aucilla Christian threatened to score with runners on second and third with one out. Kelly Horne singled to the pitcher’s mound to start the inning, but Woodall overthrew first and Horne advanced to second. Woodall intentionally walked the next batter, Elizabeth Hightower, who was 2-for-2, and both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt.
After the error, Romanello had a brief chat with Woodall at the mound.
“She has more confidence in me than I do sometimes, so she just picked me up and told me that she believes in me and that we got this and just to focus on my game,” Woodall said.
Woodall recorded the second out on her 13th strikeout, and second baseman Miranda Posey caught a foul ball to end the game.
“I think these girls have worked very hard and they understand that they have to be precise,” Canterbury coach Jodie Stephens said. “They have big goals in life and I think that working hard, with that target (on their backs) will help them achieve those goals in life.”