Softball wins districts, falls in semifinal

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photo by Michael Gibson

Pitcher Ashley Worrell pitches against East River. The team won 7-2.

Michael Gibson, Staff Reporter

Three times, varsity softball beat Lake Howell, including a third time for the district championship on April 27. The fourth time, in the regional semifinals last Tuesday, May 9, Lake Howell broke the streak.

The game was tied at 1-1 for the first three innings of the game. In the fourth inning, Lake Howell scored twice to take a 3-1 lead. In the sixth inning, however, right fielder Shannon Glover hit a line drive to send a runner home and make the score, 3-2, but she was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double. In the final inning, the team was unable to score again.

“We couldn’t execute when we needed to,” Robertson said. “We made a lot of errors on defense and they got runners on when they needed to.”

All four games against Lake Howell were decided by two runs or less this season, and the district championship was no different. The score was 1-0 and Lake Howell was in the lead, until left fielder Harper Robertson stepped up to the plate and hit a home run that put the team on top, 2-1, stunning both teams and allowing the team to win the district championship for the fourth time in school history.

“I knew it was gone the second it came off my bat,” Robertson said. “The whole momentum of the game changed. The team waited for me at the plate when I ran home, everyone was screaming and cheering; it was a really exciting moment.”

That win gave the team a lot of momentum going into playoffs.

“We have a lot of talent on this team,” right fielder Shannon Glover said. “It [depends on] how we act on the field.”

The season had a lot of ups and downs, one of the downs being a 14-3 loss to East River on March 8. The team found redemption in the regional quarterfinals on Wednesday, May 3, where they got their rematch.

The team started out hot when pitcher Ashley Worrell struck out the first batter and then got another two quick outs. The team put up four runs in the first inning, and though East River would put up two runs in the fifth, the game was never close, and the team won 7-2.

“We lost earlier in the season to the same team on the same field but we stuck together and we executed the game plan,” head coach David Stone said. “They put team before me.”

The team progressed both athletically and mentally throughout the season. They have put aside disputes and focused on the game which was been the key to their late season success. The team started the regular season 5-3, but finished with an 18-7 record.

“In the beginning of the season, we were all different girls from different friend groups, and we have really grown together,” first baseman Morgan Pleasants said.

A major part of this team’s success was the play and leadership of the seniors. Worrell, Robertson, Pleasants and the rest have been mentors to the young core of this team and have left a legacy to be followed.

“Our seniors have stuck together,” Stone said. “They have led by example, which is important, not only for this year, but the following year. We are trying to create a culture here and they have been instrumental in that.”

One of the highlights from this season was the 11-1 run rule and the 13-3 victories against Oviedo. That victory was not the only one that was won by a huge margin. The team defeated Deland 15-1 and Seminole 10-3 earlier in the season.

The team was able to find success due to the effort through every practice and game, plus the team took part in team dinners, warmup fun and special handshakes.

“[Robertson] and I always switch gloves before the games and throw opposite handed and that is one of my favorite things we do,” Pleasants said.

This was the best season since the 2014 state runner-ups and the underclassman look to carry this program through the upcoming years and continue the success.

“You can always see the excitement in the dugout,” Stone said. “They play all the way to the end, they give their full effort from the first pitch to the last pitch.”

 

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