TRINITY — After Chamberlain started by loading the bases and bringing home four runs in the first inning, Mitchell had the chance to do the same.
Instead, Chiefs pitcher Olivia Dwyer settled down.
Dwyer escaped from a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the bottom of the first unscathed to propel Chamberlain to a 10-2 road win in Wednesday’s Class 6A region quarterfinal.
“Olivia came back — bang, bang, bang,” Chiefs coach Bob Diez said. “They got nothing. We got four.”
Mitchell (24-4) couldn’t stop Chamberlain’s offense early. Singles by Lauren Williams and Hope Hernandez followed by a Mustangs error loaded the bases with no outs. Saint Leo recruit Elizabeth Diaz followed with a two-run single, and UCLA signee Isabella Ordorica and Andi Kwilinski both added RBI singles for the Chiefs (21-3).
Mitchell couldn’t follow suit, despite opening the bottom half of the inning with three consecutive singles by Madison Staniloiu, Kiera Delegro and Kassidy Neptune. But Dwyer forced two groundouts and a pop-out to end the threat without allowing a run.
“We pitched well,” Diez said. “We hit well. We played a hell of a defense. It’s the way we play.”
Chamberlain continued to bash the ball while buckling down in the field. The Chiefs had 16 hits scattered among all nine batters.
Diaz reached base all five times and hit four singles. Williams and Hernandez both had doubles, and Ordorica bashed a two-run home run to leftfield in the fourth that extended Mitchell’s deficit to 7-0.
That was plenty of cushion for a team ranked fifth in the latest state poll. Williams made a key back-handed play at shortstop to save a run in the bottom of the fifth inning.
“It broke their backs,” Diez said.
Staniloiu had the Mustangs’ only RBI, and Kelsea Vanderveer scored in the sixth on a throwing error.
Chamberlain advances to a fourth showdown with Jefferson this spring. Two of the Chiefs’ three losses have come against the Dragons, and Chamberlain stranded 10 runners in last week’s 2-1 loss in the district championship game.
8A: Alonso ace stellar
TAMPA — Five days after tossing a 13-inning complete game in a district final win over Bloomingdale, Alonso starter Kayla Maxwell came through again against Palm Harbor University.
Clinging to a two-run lead after allowing a run on a fielder’s choice in the seventh inning, the senior faced a tough situation with runners at first and third and two outs.
But Maxwell, a University of Houston signee, stayed calm and escaped the jam by inducing a ground ball to Katie Flanagan to give the
Ravens a 4-2 victory and another meeting with Bloomingdale in Tuesday’s semifinal.
“This is amazing,” said Maxwell, who struck out six. “I love helping my team, I love winning as a team. We’ve worked hard at every practice and we’re getting better and better.”
Alonso’s (22-4) offense wasted little time against PHU (16-8) pitcher Rachel Taylor, jumping to a 3-0 lead in the second. After Maxwell reached on an error and Victoria Perri singled to left, Jessica Warren connected with a fly ball that sailed over the right fielder’s head and into the corner for an inside-the-park home run.
“I tell the kids that every pitch can be their last, so enjoy the moment,” Ravens coach Robin Kopp said. “That’s what they’re doing,”
Logyn Lilley got the ’Canes on the board in the fifth with an RBI single, but Maxwell added an insurance run for Alonso in the sixth on a double to left to make it 4-1.
“We’ve got great defense, great hitting and Kayla’s an amazing pitcher,” Warren said. “If we all work together and do what we’re supposed to do, it’s all just going to fall into place for us.”
8A: Bulls ace perfect
With Bloomingdale’s season at stake, star Lace Smith came up with one of the best postseason performances in recent history.
Smith threw a perfect game, striking out 19, and her home run in the seventh inning was the difference in the Bulls’ 1-0 win at Sarasota Riverview.
“She worked her pitches well tonight,” Bulls coach Mandy Schuerman said.
Bloomingdale had a chance to score early but stranded Lizzie Jackson at third with one out. She finished 2-for-2 at the plate.
This was Smith’s first perfect game of the season. She rescued her team on offense, too, blasting a home run in the top of the seventh to give her team the victory.
“She’s been very consistent for the most part, which gives us a great opportunity,” Schuerman said. “I talk to her a lot — just give us an opportunity to win.”
6A: Jefferson gets a little revenge
TAMPA — Forty days after getting walloped by Osceola, Jefferson got a big boost from its battery.
Senior pitcher Nikki Lopez was a strike-throwing machine, and senior catcher Natali Morgado drove in three runs as Jefferson defeated Osceola 5-1.
Morgado’s two-run, two-out single in the first gave Lopez all the runs she needed. Lopez struck out 10 and walked one while going the distance. She scattered eight hits and wiggled out of no-out jams in the fourth with runners on second and third, and in the sixth with the bases loaded (when Osceola scored its run).
Lopez threw 72 of 100 pitches for strikes, including first-pitch strikes to 21 of 30 batters.
“I tried not to put anything on the white of the plate and I knew that my defense was behind me,” Lopez said.
Jefferson (17-6) lost 11-0 to Osceola (12-15) on March 15 in the Palm Harbor Invitational, but Dragons coach Eve Soto-Suarez said Morgado’s hit with the bases loaded gave her team an early charge.
“The girls started the game ahead and it gave them more confidence,” Soto-Suarez said.
Morgado’s final RBI capped a three-run fifth and followed Justine Fernandez’s two-run single. Morgado and Lopez each had two hits.
“I knew I had to put the ball in play (in the first) and score runs,” Morgado said. “Nikki was phenomenal. She was hitting her spots perfectly and all her pitches were working great.”
Osceola coach Jerry King said missed opportunities cost the Warriors.
“All we worked on (Tuesday in practice) was hitting with runners on base,” King said. “We had runners on second and third, and bases loaded with no out, and couldn’t knock in a run. So that’s our bad for not doing our job.”
Becca Bunday and MacKenna Willis had two hits each for Osceola.
4A: AHN in a thriller
Academy of the Holy Names withstood a wild final few innings to earn a 19-17 victory at Lakeland McKeel in a game Jaguars coach Don Barron called one of the craziest of his 20-year career.
“I’d say it was right up there as one of the most exciting,” he said.
The Jaguars (19-4) and McKeel both rattled off 17 hits, and Holy Names scored seven runs through the first three innings of a back-and-forth game. Sydney Coleman hit a home run for AHN, which led by eight going into the bottom of the seventh.
That’s when McKeel answered, taking advantage of a leadoff walk and capitalizing with a one-out rally that tied the game at 17.
“They put the hits together,” Barron said.
AHN did the same in the next inning. Brittany Bramwell rocketed a hit to centerfield that scored a run, and Coleman followed with a single to bring home an insurance run.
Tampa Catholic (11-9) lost 4-2 at home loss to Mulberry.
2A: Lancers shut out
ST. PETERSBURG — To win its second straight state title, Canterbury has to get through a Class 2A region bracket that includes four other teams ranked in the top 10 of the state poll.
The first obstacle for the top-ranked Crusaders came against No. 6 Cambridge Christian. Canterbury (19-6) did not have much trouble in a 5-0 victory.
Canterbury pitcher Kama Woodall threw a complete-game shutout and was one pitch from her second straight perfect game. In the fifth inning, she threw a ball that Vivica Smith smacked to the centerfield wall for a double.
Staff writer Bob Putnam and correspondents Don Jensen and Jeff Odom contributed to this report.