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SEMINOLE — There was a familiar theme to this Osceola victory, the ninth this season. Kaitlyn Romaine was effective on the mound, the defense was dominating, and there were just enough hits to manufacture the necessary runs. It has been that way all year, and that is the reason the Warriors have developed into a dangerous team.
Osceola passed its biggest test thus far, defeating neighboring rival Seminole 2-0 on Thursday. For the Warriors, it was the type of victory that will likely quiet their few remaining critics. This team is obviously for real.
“It’s always a close, tense game whenever we play Seminole,” Osceola’s Kara Oberer said. “We knew it was going to be hard, and we had to put up a fight for it.”
Oberer provided the Warriors (9-4) with two of the key offensive plays of the game. In the first inning she hit a triple, then scored on a single by Haley Brown to give Osceola a 1-0 lead. Then in the third, Oberer hit a sacrifice fly that brought home Kayla McQueen, who reached on an error.
“It was big to get up on them early,” Oberer said.
The two runs were more than enough for Romaine. Using her changeup to keep hitters off balance, she allowed just four hits and had only four runners who reached scoring position.
“Kaitlyn keeps getting better,” Warriors coach Calvin Van Auken said. “She mixed her pitches well, kept hitters guessing and didn’t give up anything big.”
Whenever the Warhawks (8-2) tried to rally, they were stymied by Osceola’s defense, which committed just one error.
For a team with all juniors in its starting lineup, the Warriors are playing beyond expectations. Still, their fast start could have been better. They let a big lead get away in a loss against Oviedo during a tournament and had a frustrating loss to Pinellas Park two weeks ago in a conference.
Thursday’s game did not count toward district or conference standings. But it did have some meaning considering the proximity of both schools.
“Seminole’s in the neighborhood, so it’s always a game the girls are going to look forward to,” Van Auken said. “It’s huge for us because it gives a little bit more confidence.”