The South Tampa Junior League All Stars took the state championship Monday, beating Naples 4-0 in Windermere, near Orlando.
The softball team of mostly 13- and 14-year-old girls — star players from West Tampa and Palma Ceia teams — may be on the way to even greater glory. Three players went to the World Series last year, including pitcher Nikki Lopez, who allowed five hits with six strikeouts and no walks in the shutout this week.
"We played real good defense,'' said Delton Lynch, a spokesman for the team.
Offensive standout Kylie Brown smacked two doubles, batted in two runs and scored a run.
The Tampa girls will compete in Fort Myers during the Southeast Regional Tournament, from Saturday to Wednesday, against teams from other states. If they win there, they go to Kirkland, Wash., for the World Series.
Lopez, catcher Sydney Coleman and outfielder Stacey Dominguez played last year on the West Tampa Little League Junior Girls team, which lost to Puerto Rico, 3-2, in a controversial world championship game. The Tampa team charged that one of Puerto Rico's players never batted, contrary to the rules. But officials declared Puerto Rico the winner.
Philip Morgan, Times staff writer