ODESSA — Carrollwood Day needed just two strokes of the bat Tuesday afternoon to qualify for their first region final.
Thanks to a complete-game, four-hit, one-earned run performance from freshman Emalee Jansen and timely hits from Emma Frost and Amanda Rose, the Patriots beat Lakeland Christian 2-1.
“We were one pitch better today,” Patriots coach Chuck Fest said.
Viking starting pitcher Kristen Beacham had all the momentum on her side. The Vikings had won three in a row, Beacham had set down Seffner Christian in five innings the previous week, and it was Beacham who pitched when the Vikings knocked CDS out of last year’s region playoffs.
On Tuesday, Beacham overpowered Patriot batters with her rising fastball. She finished with seven strikeouts in six innings. CDS didn’t even have a base runner until the fourth inning. But that proved the winning inning for the Patriots (16-7).
In the top half, Frost, at shortstop, executed a 6-5 double play where third baseman Christina Polanco and second baseman Samantha Fest switched and played up to cover a bunt. Frost snagged a soft liner and sent it to Polanco covering second to end the inning, stranding a runner and down just 1-0.
In the bottom half, Frost laced one to centerfield to reach second base. A pop out and a strikeout set up a do-or-die situation for Rose.
“You really don’t want to feel that pressure,” Rose said. “Getting up there with a runner is all a hitter can hope for.”
Rose took a chop and lifted it to leftfield where it just cleared the wall, scoring Frost and Rose, and putting CDS ahead for good.
Sound defense and a solid change-up that Jansen used to get ahead in the count helped seal the deal, along with Frost’s seven put outs.