SPRING HILL — When Springstead arrived for the Class 5A, District 7 championship game, two of its key players weren't there.
And the Eagles were never able to get the bats going, falling 5-1 to Ocala Forest.
Olivia D'Acunto and Gina Thompson were being inducted into the National Honor Society at Springstead Theatre across the street from the field when the first pitch was thrown Thursday, so neither started.
D'Acunto had been the starting catcher for Springstead (15-6) all season, and Thompson had been the team's hottest hitter.
When both arrived, they were immediately inserted into the lineup by the third inning, but the offense never came around.
"I don't think (Thompson and D'Acunto not starting) was a factor," Springstead coach Craig Swartout said. "It is a heck of an accomplishment to get into the National Honor Society."
Springstead mustered only three hits off Forest (16-10) and starter Stephanie Cameron. She tossed a complete game, striking out seven and walking only two.
The only run the district runnersup did have came without the benefit of a hit in the fourth inning. Amanda Drawe drew a walk with one out. Alexis Adams reached on an error from the second baseman, and after a groundout, Hailey Drawe was hit by a pitch to load the bases. D'Acunto, just into the game, was then walked to force in a run.
"We didn't get the bat on the ball as much as I would have hoped (Thursday night)," Swartout said. "We're going to have to get back to work in practice (today) and focus on the next game."