Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

District softball: East Lake, Countryside advance to 7A-9 final

LARGO — Two one-run games. Just what one would expect in the balanced Class 7A, District 9 tournament.

In Wednesday's first semifinal, East Lake held off Northeast 5-4. In the second, a pitchers' duel went the way of top-seeded Countryside, 1-0 over Seminole.

Sommer Pollard (two hits, including a double) hit a one-out single to center in the third to score Emily Hollenbeck (single) with the game's lone run for the Cougars (20-6).

"I was just looking to put the ball in play and get a run home," Pollard, a senior, said. "This is for bragging rights. It's definitely important for us to win districts for the third straight time."

From there, Alyssa Queen (four innings, two hits) and Stella Preston (three innings, one hit) slammed the door. Only one Seminole player (Jordan Day, who doubled) reached third base as the pair threw just 55 pitches over seven innings.

"I just didn't want (Seminole) to see the same pitches. It keeps them off balance," Cougars coach Kaylyn Bayly said of the pitching change. "Stella's a gamer. She's just a sophomore, but she steps out there and throws with confidence."

Brooke McEntire allowed three hits and two walks and struck out three for Seminole (15-8).

In the opener, East Lake coach Kristie Delk was happy to be proved wrong.

"I told them that five runs wasn't enough," Delk said of a second-inning explosion and big early lead.

Northeast rallied. But sophomore pitcher Diana Rayder shut the door.

Looking to avenge two regular-season losses to the second-seeded Vikings (16-7), No. 3 East Lake (14-7) surged out front behind aggressive baserunning from speedster Aliyah Andrews and timely hitting from Katie Shoulta (double) and Amy Smith (single).

Rayder held Northeast to two hits through five innings, but patient production from Relynn Capra and Lizzy Bench cut the gap to two in the sixth. Then Ashley McNally drove in Janae Duty with a two-out single in the sixth before Rayder came up huge one final time.

"She's kept us in every game," Delk said of the sophomore. "She's the hardest worker on the team, and she's very coachable. I'm very proud of her."

8A-8: After a three-game losing streak to end the regular season, host Palm Harbor University was searching for answers on how to get its once-powerful offense back on track.

The Hurricanes had a players meeting, switched up routines, anything to find some sort of rhythm. It worked as PHU recorded 10 hits in a 12-5 victory over Bradenton Manatee in the semifinals.

The Hurricanes (17-6) will play at Sarasota Riverview in tonight's final. The Rams advanced by beating St. Petersburg 5-3.

Trailing 5-2, the Hurricanes rallied by batting around and scoring four runs in the fifth to take the lead for good. In the sixth inning, PHU sent 11 batters up and added six more runs.

"We had lost our focus for a couple of games and needed to find a way to get it back," said Hurricanes pitcher Logyn Lilley, who was 3-for-4 and scored twice. "It was nice to go out there and take out our anger."

Eight players had at least one hit. Alayna Gallagher, Brittany Lennon and Baily Wilson had two. Lilley settled down on the mound, retiring five of the final six batters she faced.

The win was meaningful for Gallagher, Lennon and Rachel Taylor, the seniors on the team who secured their fourth consecutive playoff berth.

"Our motivation was to get back to playing well and keep our season going," Taylor said.

6A-10: Host and overwhelming favorite Mitchell did the expected, but the other semifinal featured a bit of a surprise. The Mustangs topped Dixie Hollins 6-3 and will face No. 3 seed Osceola, which routed Springstead 14-4.

The Warriors are 12-13 but headed to the playoffs with Mitchell. The two meet in the final at 7 tonight.

Mitchell (23-3) scored a pair of unearned runs in the first and later jumped to a 5-0 lead. That was enough for Jordan Fowler, who struck out seven in a four-hitter. She added a deep, run-scoring hit for a 6-2 lead.

Meanwhile, Osceola coach Jerry King went to extreme measures to prepare his batters for its opponent.

"We had our hitters go up against the left-handed (pitching) machine. I think they got about 500 swings each," he said.

The Warriors looked plenty ready for Springstead lefty Louisa Disi, collecting 15 hits, including four straight in the first for a 3-0 lead.

Sarah Huskey gave up five hits, a total Osceola surpassed as a team in the seven-run seventh inning alone.

The Warriors didn't have the reaction of a team that had pulled an upset.

"Last year, we had Lakewood Ranch and Palmetto in our district," King said.

"This year, we gave (Springstead) a game both times we played them."

5A-10: For the second time this month, Boca Ciega played Lakewood tough. But much like its 3-0 loss on April 3, it couldn't get a run on Mariah Watts when it had chances and fell 10-0 in a semifinal. The Spartans (15-10) will host Bradenton Bayshore in today's final.

Watts didn't have her best stuff but struck out 11 and allowed three hits. Angelina Carney's three-run homer to left-center broke open a close game.

Lakewood took advantage of poor fielding in the first to take a 1-0 lead when Sarah Snell scored from second on an error. The Spartans increased the lead to 2-0 on Snell's RBI single in the second that scored Mara Brody.

Boca Ciega had a golden opportunity to apply pressure on the heavily favored Spartans in the third with runners on second and third and one out. But Watts settled down and retired the final two batters to keep the game 2-0.

Lakewood broke things open in the fourth when Elinor Gale's RBI single scored Andrea Vargas and Carney crushed a 1-and-1 pitch to left-center that gave the Spartans a 6-0 advantage.

3A-9: Clearwater Central Catholic secured its first playoff berth since 1995 with a 7-2 win over Indian Rocks Christian at the Eddie C. Moore complex.

The Marauders face top-seeded Calvary Christian at 7 tonight in the final of the three-team tournament.

Julia Ryan went 2-for-3 and Kayla Lewandowski and Tiffany St. Lifer tripled for CCC.

The game was called in the sixth after an IRC player collapsed because of a heart condition and was rushed to the emergency room as a precaution.

3A-10: To break out of a slump, St. Petersburg Catholic coach Tom Fabian brought out a pitching machine that threw curveballs. It paid off as the No. 2-seeded Barons beat No. 1 Admiral Farragut 8-7 in the final at Shorecrest.

"It was just a matter of the girls gaining more confidence," Fabian said. "We struggled early. But once we started making contact, the hits kept coming."

Anna Mixa had three hits, including a double and a homer for SPC. Caroline Carpenter and Lena Trehy had two hits for the Barons.

Corynn Miner hit a three-run homer for Farragut.

2A-8: Defending state champion and host Canterbury had little trouble advancing in a 15-0 win over Hernando Christian in a semifinal called after four innings because of the mercy rule. The Crusaders play Lakeside Christian, a 15-4 winner over Bayshore Christian, at 6 tonight. Taylor Bump, Hailey Hopkins, Maddie Posey and Danielle Romanello hit home runs for Canterbury.

Times staff writer Bob Putnam and correspondents Chuck Frye, Corey Long and Darek Sharp contributed to this report.

District softball: East Lake, Countryside advance to 7A-9 final 04/17/14 [Last modified: Thursday, April 17, 2014 12:42am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What to watch for in Sunday's Indianapolis 500

    Auto racing

    Three things to know about today's 101st running of the Indianapolis 500:

    , of Spain, answers a question during a press conference for the Indianapolis 500 IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Thursday, May 25, 2017 in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) NAA103
  2. Twins eventually cash in as Rays lose, fall back to .500 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays could only battle their way out of trouble for so long Saturday afternoon before succumbing in a 5-2 loss to the Twins.

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 27: Brian Dozier #2 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates hitting a two-run home run as Derek Norris #33 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during the eighth inning of the game on May 27, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rays 5-3. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 700010973
  3. Rays Tales: The stories behind Corey Dickerson's ascension

    The Heater

    The 25 pounds DH/LF Corey Dickerson lost during the winter through diet and exercise are considered the primary reason for his ascension to one of the American League's most productive hitters, going into the weekend leading in hits, multi-hit games and total bases, and ranked in the top five in average, runs and …

    Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) connects for a sac fly, scores Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Steve Pearce (28) in the fourth inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
  4. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 12:45: Cash said Robertson was taking better swings Friday and so he wanted to move him up today, liking the idea of having three straight right-handers vs. a LHP they don't know much about. ... Souza was still smiling this morning about his failed dive attempt last night, and the reaction it got. .. The …

  5. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) celebrates with his team on the bench after beating Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) to score his second goal of the period and to tie the score at 4 to 4 during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (03/27/17).