Scouting Hernando’s state softball semifinal

The Leopards return to the final four for the first time since 2001. Their reward? Squaring off with a four-time defending state champ.
Hernando catcher Taliyah Dowdell gets ready to throw the ball back to pitcher Ali Shenefield during practice. (ALLIE GOULDING | Times)
Hernando catcher Taliyah Dowdell gets ready to throw the ball back to pitcher Ali Shenefield during practice. (ALLIE GOULDING | Times)
Published May 22

Hernando (27-3) faces Coral Springs Charter (27-1) in the Class 5A semifinal at 9:50 a.m. Thursday at Jackie Robinson Training Complex (formerly Historic Dodgertown) in Vero Beach.

How they got here

Hernando defeated Orlando Bishop Moore 4-0, Cypress Creek 8-7 and Alachua Santa Fe 1-0. Coral Springs Charter defeated LaBelle 16-1, Pompano Beach 19-0 and Key West 10-4.

Top players

Hernando: P Ali Shenefield, Sr. (.467 avg., 0.92 ERA, 361 Ks); SS Solaris Genberg, Fr. (.394 avg., 25 RBIs); 3B/P Madyson Lamp, Sr. (.527 avg., 9 HRs, 41 RBIs); C Taliyah Dowdell, Jr. (.455 avg., 4 HRs, 43 RBIs),

Coral Springs Charter: INF Lindsey Garcia, Sr. (.577, 10 HRs, 44 RBIs); OF Sara Berthiaume, Sr. (.512, 25 RBIs); INF/P Cassidy Crump, Jr. (.493 avg., 5 HRs, 37 RBIs); P/INF/OF Briana Godfrey, Fr. (14-0, 0.75 ERA, 86 Ks)

Outlook

After reaching the region finals for the fifth time in the past seven seasons, Hernando finally took the next step by making the state semifinals for the first time since 2001. The Leopards did it by beating Alachua Santa Fe 1-0 on the road. Madyson Lamp had the winning hit, a solo homer in the sixth inning. The South Georgia State College signee already holds the career (14) and single-season (nine) records for homers at Hernando. Teammate Ali Shenefield, a Rollins signee, has been dominant in the circle. Her 361 strikeouts this season rank second in the state behind Plant City’s Ashley Blessin (379). Shenefield also holds the single-season school record for shutouts (18) and career records for strikeouts (926), wins (78) and shutouts (45). When the Leopards returned home from their region final victory, they were greeted by parents and other athletes from the school. Fireworks were set off in the school’s parking lot to celebrate. Police cars and fire trucks even turned on their sirens as part of the festivities. To keep this run going, Hernando will have to knock off a national powerhouse. Coral Springs Charter, currently on a 26-game win streak, is ranked eighth nationally in MaxPreps Xcellent 25 poll. The Panthers are trying to win their fifth straight state title, which would tie them with Bartow for the state’s longest streak. Sara Berthiaume (Florida Atlantic signee) and Lindsey Garcia (Auburn), who have played at Coral Springs Charter since eighth grade, can become the first players ever from Florida to win five state titles in their careers.

Read more

[ Region softball: Rematch with Cypress Creek goes Hernando’s way ]

[ Leopard Softball Slam has come a long way ]

[ State softball: Academy at the Lakes needs just five innings to reach final ]

[ State softball: Admiral Farragut closes in on another title ]

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