MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
Region softball finals
7 p.m. Tuesday unless noted
Class 6A: Eau Gallie (27-2) at Springstead (24-3)
Winner gets: Niceville/Orange Park winner in May 2 state semifinal
Skinny: Springstead ace Lexi Adams delivered one of the best performances of her career by throwing a no-hitter in the region semis against Lecanto for her seventh shutout in a row. The Eagles have plenty of other weapons, including freshman catcher Brooke Fischbach and infielder Hailey Drawe, who both came through with key hits last week. But to advance to its first state semifinal, Springstead must knock off the defending state champion, an Eau Gallie team ranked No. 18 nationally by MaxPreps. FSU-bound shortstop Alex Powers is a state player of the year candidate with a .571 average with six home runs. The Commodores have allowed only 45 runs and recorded back-to-back shutouts in the first two region rounds.
Class 6A: River Ridge (19-5) at Lakewood Ranch (23-6)
Winner gets: Cape Coral Ida S. Baker/Pembroke Pines Charter in May 2 state semifinal
Skinny: The Royal Knights’ bats have been nearly unstoppable after scoring at least 10 runs in five of their past six games. That includes a 10-7 victory over Mitchell last week that featured home runs by Amber Jones and Jada Clemons. Sluggers Kenzi Maguire and Morgan Tolle have a combined seven homers this spring on an offense with plenty of firepower. Lakewood Ranch toppled Osceola and Jefferson on their way to the school’s first region final. Star pitcher Huntyre Elling (0.51 ERA, 83 innings) has led the Mustangs and will stand between River Ridge and its first final four since 2004.
Class 2A: Robert F. Munroe Day (14-6) at Academy at the Lakes (14-4), 4 p.m.
Winner gets: Pine Castle Christian/All Saints’ Academy in Wednesday’s state semifinal
Skinny: The Wildcats’ program-best season continued with Sydney Boynton’s two-hit shutout victory over Hernando Christian. Boynton is having a stellar season (1.78 ERA, 77 strikeouts) but is overshadowed at times by shortstop/pitcher Lauren Evans. The USF commit is batting .661 with 43 RBIs and four home runs in her sophomore season. Keep an eye on Skyler Boynton (.383, two triples). Munroe has had a strong season behind Polk State recruit Haleigh Corbally (158 strikeouts on the mound, .590 batting average). Kaitlyn Sirmons (.508 average) will also be an offensive threat for the Bobcats, who have won their past two games by a combined score of 16-3.