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Gonzalez lifts Chamberlain to state softball title

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Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 05:54 AM
CLERMONT -

As the great Yankees catcher Yogi Berra said, "It's deja vu all over again."

For the second day in a row, Chamberlain's Madison Gonzalez provided the heroics as her two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning erased a one-run deficit and gave the Chiefs a 9-8 victory against Bartow and the Class 7A state softball championship Saturday at the National Training Center Softball Complex.

"I didn't think it was gone," said Gonzalez, a senior center fielder. "I thought it was going to hit the fence. When I saw it go over, I said, 'Yeah.'"

It's the Chiefs' second state softball title — they also won in 2003 — and second in four chances for Chamberlain coach Bob Diez.

Gonzalez, who hit a grand slam and a three-run home run in the Chiefs' 13-8 semifinal win against Cooper City on Friday, got the Chiefs on the board in the second with a solo home run to left field. It was her third consecutive at-bat with a home run.

She finished the tournament 4-for-6 with four home runs, 11 RBIs and five runs scored.

Before Gonzalez's blast, it looked like Chamberlain (27-5) might end up on the wrong end of a questionable call. With two outs and the score tied at 6 in the fifth, the Yellow Jackets' Wanda Darby doubled to left with Mackenzie Brown at first. Darby was thrown out at third but the umpires ruled Brown had crossed home before the out was made.

"Our girls overcame that and didn't give up," Diez said.

For the second day in a row, Chamberlain starting pitcher Rachel Dwyer struggled. Bartow (27-5) took a 4-1 lead before Dwyer was replaced with two outs in the second by Amber Fullwood.

"I never considered not starting Rachel," Diez said. "With Amber in right field, we're a better defensive team."

The Yellow Jackets increased their lead to 6-2 before Chamberlain tied the score at 6 in the top of the fifth, sending eight batters to the plate. The big hit was a bases-loaded double by Lindsay Hagberg.

After the Bartow run in fifth put the Yellow Jackets back on top, back-to-back doubles by Jenna Brownwell and Fullwood tied the score at 7. In the bottom of the sixth, Shelby Duncan singled and Tonee Fabrizi doubled to give Bartow the lead again, 8-7.

With Chamberlain down to its last two outs, Ellen Scott doubled to center and, one out later, Gonzalez stepped to the plate.

"I was really scared," Gonzalez said. "There was no way I wanted to strike out because I would have felt really bad about myself."

She will feel pretty good in the morning.

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