District softball: Countryside, Seminole dispatch top seeds



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Wed. April 15, 2015 | Chuck Frye

PINELLAS PARK — With district semifinals this good, Thursday’s final could almost be anticlimactic.

In Wednesday’s Class 7A-9 playoffs at Pinellas Park, Seminole survived a pair of deficits to take down second seed Northeast 7-6 while Countryside leapt out to a big lead then held on to dispatch No. 1 East Lake 5-4.

Northeast (18-6) countered a two-run third, led by a run-scoring double from Mackenzie Jahn (two hits, two RBIs), with two of its own via Relynn Capra’s homer around the leftfield foul pole in the bottom half. But that would be all the Vikings could muster until the seventh thanks to quality relief pitching from Savannah Farkas.

Surprising even herself —“In warmups, I wasn’t throwing that good — the freshman retired 10 of the first 11 batters she faced, four by strikeout. This allowed the Warhawks (15-7), led by No. 9 hitter Marilyn Maas (three hits, two runs scored) and Katlyn Vega (RBI double) to take advantage of some soft Northeast defense for a 7-3 advantage.

But the Vikings surged again in the seventh on Capra’s two-run double — her fourth and fifth RBIs of the game, eventually getting the tying run 60 feet away until Farkas’ sixth strikeout of the day ended it.

“(Northeast) is very aggressive with inside pitches,” Farkas said. “I had my drop curves working in the seventh and that helped at the end.”

The nightcap saw Countryside’s (18-8) bats a-blazing in the first inning as Makenzie Griffin, Cheyenne Blumberg and Brooke Sharpe staked out a 4-0 lead, then extended the edge to five on a solo shot from Keeley Mayers in the second.

“We had a meeting and we were told to swing at good pitches and make sure every swing counted,” Mayers said. “Don’t slack off at the plate.”

But East Lake starter Samantha Ramasanto allowed two hits the rest of the way while the Eagles’ offense slowly recovered.

Home runs from Madison Neuhaus and Diana Rayder (two hits, two RBIs) narrowed the gap but East Lake (19-7) saw its potential tying run stranded at first base in the seventh.

“This was very stressful,” said winning pitcher Stella Preston. “East Lake’s a good hitting team and it was hard to mix up my pitches on them. (After two tight losses in the regular season), it was pretty exciting to beat them.”


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