VERO BEACH — From the start of the playoffs until the first two innings of Wednesday’s Class 8A state semifinal, Bloomingdale had hit the ball hard with few runs to show for it.
“I knew that it was just a matter of time before we broke out,” Bulls coach Mandy Schuerman said.
pIn the Bulls’ biggest game in a decade, it finally happened.
Jenna Beswick blasted a three-run homer, and the Bulls bashed up 11 hits to blow out Weston Cypress Bay 9-1 at Historic Dodgertown. Bloomingdale will compete for the second state title in program history and first since 1993 when it faces Oviedo Hagerty, a 5-1 winner over Miami Coral Reef, at 4:35 p.m. today.
“I’m pretty hyped,” said leadoff hitter Elizabeth Jackson, who was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Bloomingdale (26-3) spotted Cypress Bay a run early on an infield error, but the Bulls weren’t down for long. Darby Bernaldo answered in the bottom half with an RBI single to tie it.
Bulls ace Lace Smith didn’t need much more help. The Buffalo commit dominated again, feasting on the inside of the plate. She allowed only three hits and struck out six in a complete game.
“I just trusted myself more,” said Smith, who also was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
She also trusted an offense that hadn’t scored more than three runs in the playoffs.
Beswick changed that with one swing, taking an 0-and-2 inside pitch over the leftfield wall to make it 5-1 in the third. Beswick sprinted around the bases and didn’t know her hit was out of the park until Schuerman told her to slow down as she rounded third.
“It made me feel like we’re in it as a team,” Beswick said of her first home run of the season.
The Bulls’ offense came together again to break the game open in the sixth.
Taylor Engman knocked a two-run double down the leftfield line. Smith and Shannon Eckaus followed with RBI singles to turn a close game into a rout.
“I was hoping to save it for (today),” Smith said.