SAFETY HARBOR — Oldsmar built a 5-2 lead after three innings of play in the District 12 9-10 softball championship against West Pasco, then proceeded to hold on for dear life.
Twice in the fourth and fifth innings, West Pasco loaded the bases, only to come up empty each time.
In the sixth, however, Oldsmar couldn't escape a third consecutive jam. West Pasco scored four runs in the bottom half of the final inning to earn the 9-10 softball title with a dramatic, come-from-behind 6-5 victory.
West Pasco's Ashley Panariello and Amanda Bianchi drew consecutive leadoff walks to put runners on base in the decisive inning. Makenzie Goluba, who started on the mound for West Pasco and earned the victory, singled home Panariello and Bianchi to pull West Pasco to within a run.
Madisyn Palmer followed Goluba with a single. After a wild pitch allowed both runners to go to second and third base, Allysa Lyons hit the winning single to bring home both runners and wrap up the championship for West Pasco.
West Pasco got on the board early with two runs in the first courtesy of a series of Oldsmar errors.
Oldsmar scored five runs in the third to take the lead. Aliyah Andrews walked with the bases loaded to plate Oldsmar's first run. Maddie Bertisch followed with a RBI single to tie the game at two.
A batter later, Carly Liptak doubled, bringing home three runs to give Oldsmar a 5-2 lead.
Andrews pitched a complete game for Oldsmar and struck out 10 batters. Goluba struck out 14 for West Pasco and only allowed two base runners after the third inning.
West Pasco advances to the sectional tournament in Crystal River, where it will play a team from District 6 (Tampa) on Friday at 8 p.m.
SAFETY HARBOR 7, WEST PASCO 6: In 11-12 softball, Jessica Hall's third double of the game proved to be the winning hit as Safety Harbor outlasted West Pasco in extra innings.
West Pasco held a 5-0 lead after two innings, but Safety Harbor battled back to tie the game midway through the fourth. West Pasco retook the lead in the bottom of the fourth, going up 6-5, but Safety Harbor responded again, tying the game in the fifth.
The game remained tied at six until Hall's double scored Abby Mayers to seal the win for Safety Harbor in the eighth inning. Both teams will play again tonight at 7 for the District 12 11-12 softball championship.
Stephanie Freeman pitched all eight innings for Safety Harbor to earn the victory. Hall finished 4-for-5 and Turiah Benhakuma was 3-for-3 with two walks for Safety Harbor.