Freedom High School's dramatic, magical softball run ended in last week's state finals at the hands of a left-handed ace from South Florida.
The Patriots lost 1-0 to Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas in the Class 7A state championship game in Vero Beach.
Freedom, which had been full of late-inning, comeback heroics throughout the regional tournament, could only muster one hit against Aquinas pitcher Meghan King in the finals.
Catcher Maddy Hall had the Patriots' only hit, a sixth-inning single. She advanced to third, but was left stranded. And in the bottom half of that inning, Aquinas scored what turned out to be the only run of the game.
The Patriots won 22 of 26 games to finish as state runners-up, the most successful campaign in the program's history.
Steinbrenner tripped up
Steinbrenner High's baseball team was expected to have no issues with Wiregrass Ranch, a district foe that the Warriors had pummeled by a combined score of 20-1 in their three previous meetings this season.
But the Warriors, ranked 16th nationally by MaxPreps.com, struggled in their 7A regional semifinal game, mustering just four hits and stranding nine baserunners in a 4-0 loss.
Bulls' junior pitcher Zach Drury, who had lost twice to Steinbrenner this season, earned the win that ended the Warriors' season at 24-3.
Six North of Tampa basketball players were named to the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches 2012-13 All-State teams.
In Class 7A, senior Faith Woodard and sophomore Taylor Emery were both named to the girls team after leading Freedom to its first state final four. Woodard, a 6-foot-2 senior forward and Georgetown signee, averaged 22 points and 10 rebounds per game, while Emery averaged 20 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists per game.
In Class 8A, Alonso forward Quatasia Fantroy led the Ravens to an 18-win season while averaging 21 points per game.
On the boys side, Wharton senior guard C.J. McGill was named all-state in Class 8A. McGill averaged 17 points per game while lifting the Wildcats to the 8A state semifinals. Chamberlain senior guard Reggie Hart was named to the Class 7A team after averaging 25 points a game and leading the Chiefs to their third straight district crown.
In Class 4A, Berkeley Prep G/F Justin Gray earned all-state honors. Gray, 6-foot-4, averaged 15 point and 7 rebounds for a Buccaneers team that advanced to the region semifinals.