SEFFNER — In 90 minutes Tuesday afternoon, Canterbury erased a year's worth of hurt. Behind strong pitching, timely hitting and stellar defensive play, the Crusaders defeated Seffner Christian 11-1 in five innings to reach the final four — an opportunity they gave away 12 months ago in a stinging region final defeat.
"We came out with a goal this season and we achieved it," Canterbury coach Jody Moore said.
Last May, the Crusaders lost in the same round of the playoffs, 2-1 to Southwest Florida Christian, after committing four seventh-inning errors. Tuesday, Canterbury was errorless, and after a four-run first the outcome was never in doubt.
The Crusaders (24-6), who are headed to the state semifinals for the first time, got three hits each from Jennifer Crosthwaite and Macey Hall. Crosthwaite, who homered in the fifth, produced five RBIs. Pitcher Krissy Longstreet threw a one-hitter.
"This year, we focused on taking it a step further," Crusaders senior Erika Surbaugh said.
Seffner Christian (9-10), which has only three seniors and started seventh-grader Jenna Botto on the mound, not only struggled at the plate, but committed four errors. Most of them led to Canterbury runs.
"Today youth and inexperience caught up with us," Seffner Christian coach Greg Fawbush said. "We knew we'd have to play a mistake-free game."