ST. PETERSBURG — Shorecrest pounded out 17 hits and scored at least a run in every inning of a 13-3, five-inning mercy-rule win over Bradenton St. Stephen’s in Wednesday’s Class 3A region quarterfinal.
It was the 12th straight win for the Chargers.
Shorecrest pitcher Raquel Galinski scattered three hits and gave up three early runs to earn the win in a game that was actually close early.
Galinski struck out the first three batters she faced. In the bottom of the first, Shorecrest scored three runs thanks to RBIs from Dulci Berlanti and Molly Gilroy.
St. Stephen’s got a run in the second, but Hannah Smith made it 5-1 after two on a two-run home run, her ninth of the season.
“I really thought that was too low to be out,” Smith said. “I was nervous about that one.”
Thanks to Shorecrest errors, St. Stephen’s got two runs in the third to cut the lead to 5-3. That seemed to wake up the Chargers, who shut out the Falcons the rest of the way.
“We found our rhythm,” coach Mike Galinski said. “It took a while but we started rolling. It happens. We had a quick little meeting and said enough was enough.”
In the third, Smith struck again with a two-RBI single. Sephie Copper also had an RBI single in the inning. After a run in the fourth, Shorecrest put the game away in the fifth.
Gilroy finished the game 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Smith, Molly Webber, Lindsay Eaton and Berlanti had two hits each.
“We kind of lost a little focus there in the middle of the game,” Smith said. “But if anything, that got us more focused.”
More 3A: St. Petersburg Catholic beat host Bradenton Christian 5-4 following a furious seventh-inning rally.
The Barons entered the final frame trailing 4-2 and had its Nos. 6-9 hitters due up. Those batters previously combined to go 0-for-6 with three strikeouts against Panthers senior Hailey Dearlove. But their bats started clicking with base hits from Martita Sharlow and Madison Zoffer worked around two Dearlove strikeouts.
After a walk to Anna Mixa, who tripled and scored in the sixth, the Barons turned to third baseman Brooke Zoffer.
She slapped a grounder to BCS shortstop Lily DeVirgilis, who went to second base for the force. By the time she arrived at the bag, Mixa had beaten her.
Meanwhile, Sharlow scored and Madison Zoffer headed for home. DeVirgilis fired over catcher Madison Dreier’s outstretched glove and the relay from the backstop got away from Dearlove on the tag attempt, allowing Zoffer to score the tying run.
Mixa didn’t stop running, scoring the go-ahead run when the ball floated back to Dearlove a little late.
“You’re down (two) runs with two outs. What are you going to do, have them stand on the base?” Barons head coach Tommy Fabian said. “You send them all running. It’s the only chance you’ve got.”
Kelsey Humphrey earned the win with 11 strikeouts against three walks.
7A: Offense deserts Countryside
CLEARWATER — The stretch of zeroes on the scoreboard extended through six innings as Freedom and Countryside, teams known for offense, had trouble manufacturing runs in Wednesday’s Class 7A region quarterfinal.
It appeared to be more of the same in the seventh as the Patriots led off the inning with two straight outs.
Then the offense came together.
Kayla Maczuga, a pinch hitter, started things off with a single. That was followed by a single from Ashley Wilson. Rachel Carlson followed with another single.
By the time the top of the inning was over, Freedom had put together five straight singles, scored two runs and held on for a 2-0 victory, its first in the postseason.
“The girls worked hard, and we made a few adjustments,” Patriots coach Autum Hernandez said. “Our bats started a little slow, but we continued to put the ball in play and we were able to get those two big runs in the seventh.”
Maddy Hall, a freshman, had the winning hit, a single off a full count that scored Maczuga. Caitlin Parker followed with a single that brought home Wilson to give Freedom (19-3) more breathing room.
“I basically was just looking to make contact,” Hall said. “When it got to a full count, that’s really when the jitters started coming out. I’m just glad I was able to get the hit. It was big. Real big.”
The Cougars (24-4) had six hits and runners in scoring position three times but could not score. Hailee Keisling and Kelsie Sanchez each had two hits to lead Countryside.
Through six innings, starter Alyssa Queen held the Patriots to two hits, thanks to a defense that routinely made plays.
“Freedom is a good hitting team, and we knew it was only a matter of time before they started coming around,” Countryside coach Kaylyn Bayly said. “We didn’t want to go into extra innings. But I’m proud of the girls. We overcame a lot this season.”
More 7A: Defending state champion Chamberlain knocked off St. Petersburg 5-0 in a Class 7A region quarterfinal.
St. Petersburg (16-7), playing its first region quarterfinal since 1998, couldn’t overcome a case of the jitters. Four infield errors by the Green Devils led to four unearned runs.
“We’re a young team, we came in and played tight at the beginning of the game, and we didn’t settle down,” St. Petersburg coach Don McNally said. “From where we started from fall ball to today, it’s unbelievable. We have only one senior, our pitcher (Bre Setree), and she put this team on her back from the beginning of the season.”
5A: Dunedin shut out
Dunedin’s second straight postseason ended quickly in a stunning 6-0 loss to Blake.
The Falcons couldn’t generate anything on offense, striking out 10 times. And the defense was unusually sloppy, committing costly errors that led to runs.
“You can’t strike out that many times and expect to win,” Falcons coach Roy Silver said. “It’s a bitter pill for the girls to take, especially because we had played so well leading up to this game. But after a few days, the girls will realize how much we accomplished and know that we had a good season.”
Staff writer Bob Putnam and correspondent Don Jensen contributed to this report, which also used information from the Herald.