SEMINOLE — Osceola prided itself on defense this season. In the Class 4A, District 10 semifinals against Lakewood Ranch on Wednesday, the Warriors’ defense let them down as they committed three errors en route to a 5-2 loss to end their season.
“You can’t make those errors,” Warriors coach Calvin Van Auken said. “We gave them three runs. You take those away and it’s a close game.”
Lakewood Ranch took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, taking advantage of three straight singles and an Osceola error. Amber Wimmer, Taylor Newton and Dana Hutchins hit three straight singles and an error by the centerfielder allowed Wimmer to score. Sarah Burnett followed with a sacrifice fly to score Newton.
Lakewood Ranch tacked on another run in the second inning. Katie Hopkins singled and went to third on a double by Jen Trotter. A bad throw allowed Hopkins to score and put the Mustangs up 3-0.
“We can’t do those things,” Van Auken said. “We had no chance at that runner and the third baseman lets the ball go by, allowing them to score.”
After falling behind 5-0, the Warriors finally got on the board with some help from the Mustangs’ defense. With one out, Ali Bobo walked and Jasmine Acevedo doubled to center to put runners on second and third. The next batter flew out and Rachel Weaver hit a deep flyball to left that was dropped by the outfielder, allowing Bobo and Acevedo to score. That was the only threat by the Warriors.
“We had to play two nights in a row and it was tough to prepare for,” Van Auken said. “The pitcher (Huntyre Elling) tonight got us to swing at her rise ball.”
Kaitlyn Romaine pitched all seven innings for the Warriors, giving up 13 hits, two earned runs, walking one and striking out five.
Braden River 10, Lakewood 0: On just about any other team in the state, Hannah Loyer would be the ace. At Braden River, she is No. 2 behind Courtney Mirabella, a sophomore touted as one of the best pitchers in the country.
It hasn’t been easy for Loyer, also a sophomore, but she has made the most of every opportunity and remains unbeaten.
Loyer won her seventh game of the season, leading host Braden River (23-3) to a shutout of Lakewood. The game was stopped after 4 1/2 innings because of the 10-run rule.