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Thursday, Nov 27, 2014

Softball playoff roundup: Strawberry Crest gets 1st playoff win

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DOVER Despite playing with an injured hamstring, Strawberry Crest junior pitcher Sammy Tyler, in her postseason debut, tossed a seven-inning one-hit shutout to lead the Chargers to their first regional victory in a 5-0 win against Palmetto in the Class 6A-Region 3 quarterfinals Thursday.

Strawberry Crest (24-2) will play Bradenton Lakewood Ranch in the region semifinals Tuesday.

“I was just trying to hit the inside and outside corners as hard as I could,” Tyler said. “I was not trying to throw it down the middle. If they got the bat on the ball, it was going.”

Tyler, who played two years at Armwood before transferring to Strawberry Crest, finished with 12 strikeouts. The win also was the first postseason win, for any team, in school history.

“The girls deserve it,” Strawberry Crest coach Mindy Miltner said. “They worked hard and it’s good to go on to the next game.”

For four innings Thursday, Palmetto (14-10) held its ground against the third-ranked team in 6A, but in the fifth, the Chargers found their swing, scoring four runs off four hits to take a 5-0 lead.

“I knew we were going to come around,” Miltner said. “The girls had seen her twice and they were due for some hits. They laid down some great bunts and then some great hits.”

Megan Reed had two hits, a run and an RBI.

Auria Mounts recorded Palmetto’s lone hit in the second inning. Mounts also had three strikeouts, limiting the Chargers to one hit until the fifth.

8A-2: Palm Harbor ousts Wharton 8-4 PALM HARBOR Hurricanes softball coach Kerry Katchuk had a premonition Thursday just before his Palm Harbor University High squad faced Wharton in a Class 8A-Region 2 quarterfinal.

“I told someone just before the game that if we scored eight runs, I’d take my chances on (Wharton) scoring nine,” Katchuk said.

Katchuk’s team proved him correct. Palm Harbor plated eight runs and Wharton couldn’t match the Hurricanes’ offense, losing 8-4 at Palm Harbor.

Wharton jumped on Palm Harbor in the top of the second with three runs but the lead just lasted for a few moments. The Hurricanes racked up five in the bottom of the same frame and never looked back.

Slugging hurt Wharton as Palm Harbor belted six extra-base hits.

“We struggled offensively, especially hitting at the key moments the whole game,” Wharton coach Ashlee Cappucci said. “We were either ahead of the ball or popping it up.”

8A-2: Durant pounds East Lake 11-0 PLANT CITY Durant pounded out 14 hits, including a three-run homer by Kennedy Dean, as the Cougars opened defense of their 2012 state championship with an 11-0 victory against East Lake in the Class 8A-Region 2 quarterfinals.

The Cougars (20-8) travel to take on Palm Harbor University in the region semifinals Tuesday.

Durant sent 11 batters to the plate in the third inning, scoring five runs, to take a 7-0 lead. In the fourth, Dean blasted a three-run homer to left, her first of the season. The game was called after 51/2 innings because of the 10-run rule.

“I came into this game thinking it could be my last,” said Dean, a senior third baseman. “I just wanted to give it my very best.”

The only Durant starter not to get a hit was pitcher Paige Davis. But Davis allowed three hits and retired 10 of the last 11 she faced.

The Eagles (17-10) got two runners on in the each of the first two innings. But Davis (18-4) was able to pitch out of trouble and run her scoreless inning streak to 35. She has thrown five consecutive shutouts. The last run she allowed was April 4.

6A-2: Mitchell edges past Winter Haven 2-0 WINTER HAVEN The fourth and decisive rematch between Mitchell and River Ridge is on.

Mitchell traveled nearly 90 minutes from home to defeat Winter Haven 2-0 in a Class 6A-Region 2 quarterfinal. With the victory, the Mustangs create a rematch of the 6A-District 10 championship game, which Mitchell narrowly lost to River Ridge 4-3 on Friday.

“Hopefully we come out and play River Ridge the way we did last Friday night,” Mitchell coach Scott Bisbe said. “We hit the ball pretty well and pulled it out 2-0. (Jordan Fowler) wasn’t as on as she’s usually been but she got the job done. For the most part she shut them down.”

Mitchell scored one in the fourth and sixth innings, with both being unearned and coming via the Mustangs being opportunistic on the base path. Fowler (six strikeouts) held the Blue Devils in check and Mitchell was able to do just enough offensively, notching five hits.

6A-2: River Ridge rolls past Sebring 16-3 NEW PORT RICHEY It’s another year and a similar trail through the state playoffs for River Ridge.

The Royal Knights last season started their playoff quest in Sebring and were able to dispose of the Blue Streaks 13-0. Thursday night, River Ridge was able to beat Sebring by 13 runs once again, as the Royal Knights handily defeated the Blue Streaks 16-3 in five innings.

“We didn’t play our usual game but when you put up as many runs as we did you can get away with it,” River Ridge coach Ernie Beck said. “(Sebring) was a better team than they were last year. We score runs and we’re going to run. I know its cliché and all that but it’s true. It’s just that simple.”

After giving up an early run to Sebring (13-11), River Ridge opened up the scoring barrage in the bottom of the first, started off by Kenzi Maguire’s triple that scored Madisyn Palmer, and that was followed up by a two-run homer from Morgan Tolle. The Royal Knights (27-1) never let up from there and added two runs in the second, eight in the third and three in the fourth.

The game ended after the top of the fifth inning due to the mandated 10-run rule, which is enforced in postseason play.

River Ridge pitcher Makenzie Goluba finished the night by striking out 10.

6A-3: Lakewood Ranch tops Sickles 9-1 BRADENTON Despite collecting six hits, Sickles recorded one run while Lakewood Ranch used a five-run third inning to put the game out of reach for a 9-1 victory in a Class 6A-Region 3 quarterfinal Thursday.

Lakewood Ranch will host Strawberry Crest in the region semifinals Tuesday.

Ashley Weisman scored the lone run for the Gryphons (17-10) on a fourth-inning throwing error. Devon Morrison reached base twice for Sickles, singling and drawing a walk.

Pitcher Amanda Rak controlled the pace for Lakewood Ranch (18-8-1), the No. 10 ranked team in 6A.

4A-3: Holy Names rallies to top DeSoto TAMPA A big-third inning erased an early deficit Thursday night and the Academy of the Holy Names defeated Arcadia DeSoto County, 5-3, in the Class 4A-Region 3 quarterfinals.

Academy of the Holy Names scored all five of its runs in the third, aided in large part by three errors.

The Bulldogs responded with a pair of runs in the fourth inning and looked set to score more with the bases loaded and none out, but ran themselves out of the inning with no additional runs.

“That’s a scrappy bunch (from DeSoto County),” Jaguars coach Don Barron said. “Overall, I thought we puts the hits together and put the ball down when we needed to. Small ball helped us.”

Alexandra Gerecke picked up the win for the Jaguars, pitching a complete game and striking out two. Anya Muyres led the way offensively for AHN, going 3-for-3 with an RBI.

2A-3: Cambridge falls to Southwest Florida FORT MYERS For the second consecutive season, Cambridge Christian’s season was ended by Southwest Florida Christian.

In the bottom of the 11th inning, SWFC, the fifth-ranked team in Class 2A, hit a two out walk-off single to defeat the Lancers, 2-1, Thursday in the 2A-Region 3 quarterfinals.

Cambridge Christian ends the season 13-6. Last year, SWFC defeated the Lancers, 8-0.

Freshman Alea White had 16 strikeouts in the loss and hit a solo home run in the seventh to tie the game. The Lancers had an opportunity to take the lead with runners on second and third in the ninth, but couldn’t push a run across.

“It was a good season,” said Cambridge Christian coach Kevin Hickinbotham. “The kids played hard. Every one of our losses was to a team that at least made the region playoffs.”

Nick Williams

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