VERO BEACH — A big deficit late in extra innings proved too much to overcome for Carrollwood Day on Friday afternoon at Historic Dodgertown.
The Patriots rallied in the first frame of extra innings but couldn’t keep up with speedy Moore Haven as the Terriers scored five times to defeat Carrollwood Day 15-10 in 10 innings in a Class 3A state semifinal at the former spring training home of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“All year long we have fought. Every game we’ve been in, whether it’s a win or a loss — this team has just fought and fought and fought,” said Carrollwood coach Chuck Fest, whose squad dressed just 11 players.
Moore Haven (17-4) scored 41 runs in its three region wins, including an 18-10 victory over St. Petersburg Catholic to send the Terriers to the state final four.
Moore Haven built a 3-0 lead after two innings, but Carrollwood Day’s Emma Frost slugged a two-run homer in the third. Trailing 6-3, the Patriots rallied to take a 7-6 lead after five innings.
But Alexis Storey’s sacrifice fly in the sixth inning tied the score, and the teams headed to extra innings to begin three of the stranger innings of the four-day tournament.
Moore Haven plated three runs in the top of the eighth, aided by a misplayed two-out fly to centerfield by Carrollwood Day’s Kristen Docobo and a two-run double by Sydnee Cypress.
CDS (16-8) rallied with three in the bottom of the eighth. Emalee Jansen, Savannah Bennett and Samantha Fest each had RBIs to force even more extra softball.
“After they put three on us, I just looked at them and said, 'Look at the scoreboard. Look how we battled back.’ These girls just fight,” Coach Fest said.
Following a scoreless ninth, Moore Haven scored five times in the 10th, and the Patriots had no answer. Moore Haven will face Westminster Christian, a 4-2 winner over North Florida Christian, in today’s championship.
“We didn’t get an opportunity to scout them,” Coach Fest said. “They’re a really fast team. We had a really tough time combating their speed. Their coach did a very good job of playing into our weaknesses, and we had a tough time making adjustments.
“We kept fighting back and fighting back, but I think we just ran out of gas at the end with the short bench that we had.”
Added Samantha Fest, who led Carrollwood with three hits and three RBIs: “We had done it before. We’ve come back in numerous games, far down. We never quit. We played our hearts out.”
Jansen worked 9.1 innings but was relieved by Amanda Rose in the frustrating 10th inning.
“I’m used to long, hard days, but it’s been a while since I’ve had one. I was happy Amanda, a senior, got to close out the game,” Jansen said.