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SPRING HILL — Alexis Adams’ sixth consecutive shutout kept Springstead in Tuesday’s Class 6A region quarterfinal long enough for its bats to break through.
Hailey Drawe’s RBI double in the fifth put the Eagles up for good and helped them advance to their second region semifinal in program history with a 2-0 win over Groveland South Lake.
“She’s really got a knack for coming up big at the right time,” Springstead coach Craig Swartout said of Drawe. “She just always is the spark.”
The Eagles’ offense needed that spark after stuttering through four scoreless innings and stranding five runners. The South Lake offense fared even worse against a dominant Adams.
Springstead’s ace racked up seven strikeouts — extending her single-season school record to 213 — while allowing only three hits and a walk. Adams got out of one key jam, striking out the side after allowing a first-batter walk in the second and fueling the pitchers’ duel.
“I knew eventually we would get there,” Swartout said of his offense.
The Eagles (22-4) finally started to click in the fifth after a two-out single by sophomore Brittny Desmond. Drawe followed that with a blast off the left-centerfield wall that finally got the Eagles on the board.
“I didn’t think I hit it as far as I did,” Drawe said.
Springstead tacked another run on South Lake (15-15) in the sixth when freshman Brooke Fischbach’s single up the middle scored senior Elisabeth Markidis. That was enough to help the Eagles advance to Friday’s region semifinal.
“We live another day,” Swartout said. “We move on.”
6A: Mitchell freshman pitches shutout
TRINITY — Madison Stanilou has become a star for Mitchell in her first season with the team. The freshman pitcher continued that excellence in the Class 6A region quarterfinals.
The ace tossed a one-hit shutout in the Mustangs’ 10-0 win over Lake Gibson in six innings.
“(Stanilou) is so cool under pressure that it’s kind of surprising,” Mitchell coach Scott Bisbe said. “Last week she was sick with a sinus infection and wasn’t pitching her best, but today she got it going again.”
The young freshmen for Mitchell (17-7) held their composure in a first taste of the big stage. Not only did Stanilou come through with a complete-game victory, surrendering only one hit and a walk with eight strikeouts, but freshman designated player Kiera Delegro went 2-for-3 with an RBI as well.
Every player in the Mustangs’ lineup had at least one hit as the team knocked out Lake Gibson starter Joni Wilcox (11/3 innings, three earned runs, five hits) in the second inning, and continued to pound reliever Brittany West (four innings, six earned runs, 13 hits).
Stanilou improved to 10-2, adding to a resume that included a one-hitter against Sunlake and no-hitter against Tarpon Springs. She also went 1-for-4 and scored a run against the Braves (5-18).
“This was all new to me,” Stanilou said. “This was a lot different. Once I got warmed up some and got some movement on my pitches, the strikeouts started to come.”
The contest ended with a walkoff two-run double from catcher Ryleigh Hill (2-for-4, 3 RBIs), her second double of the game.
2A: Lions get another shot at AATL
Briana Hogan did not want her prep career to be over just yet.
Her bases-loaded triple gave Hernando Christian a lead in the fifth inning, and the Lions never looked back in a 4-2 victory at Deltona
Trinity Christian in the Class 2A regional quarterfinals.
Batting leadoff, Hogan came to the plate after singles from Heather Drummond, Chelsea Lowe and Madison Frazier filled the bases for the Lions (16-6) with two outs. In a pressure situation, down 1-0, she hammered a ball to the fence to clear the bases. She scored right after on a squeeze bunt from Kaitlyn Lowe, accounting for all four runs in the frame.
“After (Trinity Christian) scored in the bottom of the third, I was in the dugout telling the girls that we needed to get the bats going,” HCA coach Mike Drummond said. “(Hogan) really came through.”
From there, Ashley McKay shut down the Eagles (10-8). Her complete-game win included six strikeouts to give her 199 for the season.
First baseman Heather Drummond had 13 putouts, eight unassisted, and four line-drive catches, including one double play.
HCA faces Academy at the Lakes on Friday. The Lions are 0-3 against the Wildcats this season, all close games.
“We are very familiar with them, but we are rolling right now and they have to sit for a week,” Drummond said. “That may work to our advantage.”
6A, River Ridge 13, Sebring 0: The Royal Knights scored five in the first inning and five in the second to cruise to a blowout victory in the Class 6A region quarterfinal.
“We just hit the ball,” coach Ernie Beck said.
River Ridge (18-5) cycled through the order in the first inning and scored early on an RBI hit by Morgan Tolle. The runs kept coming — two in the third and another in the fifth — as every Royal Knight reached base at least once.
Pitcher Makenzie Goluba escaped one no-out jam with runners on second and third to help complete her third shutout in her past four games.
River Ridge faces Mitchell, which edged the Royal Knights 5-4 for last week’s district championship, Friday. The Mustangs have won two of their three meetings.
3A, Lakeland Christian 5, Bishop McLaughlin 4: The Hurricanes’ season ended after Lakeland Christian broke a tie and took the lead for good with a two-run fourth inning. Spencer Valdespino finished her career with a 2-for-3 night for Bishop McLaughlin (13-15), and teammate Andrea Niggebrugge was 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs.
Pitcher Megan Malone also batted in a run and struck out two batters in the loss. Bishop added a run in the fourth to cut the deficit to one but couldn’t tie it up.
HomeTeam Hot Shots
A look at some of the top performers from Tuesday night.
Alexis Adams, Springstead: Eagles ace threw her sixth consecutive shutout, allowing only three hits and striking out seven in her team’s region quarterfinal win.
Madisyn Palmer, River Ridge: Freshman outfielder got on base to start the first and second — and scored both times — to begin five-run innings and help the Royal Knights to a 13-0 blowout victory.
Madison Stanilou, Mitchell: Freshman pitcher tossed a one-hit shutout in the Mustangs’ 10-0 win over Lake Gibson.
By the numbers
4 Times in its past five games River Ridge softball has scored at least 13 runs.
199 Hernando Christian pitcher Ashley McKay’s strikeouts total for the season. She’s one from becoming the first HCA pitcher to record 200.
Correspondent Derek J. LaRiviere contributed to this report.