Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Class 5A state softball: East Bay beats Niceville 2-0 for state title

Sierra “C.C.” Rock hits a two-run double in the sixth to give East Bay the lead. The junior catcher had been hitless in the state tournament until that point.


Sierra “C.C.” Rock hits a two-run double in the sixth to give East Bay the lead. The junior catcher had been hitless in the state tournament until that point.

CLERMONT — Minutes after the biggest win of his life, veteran East Bay coach Glenn Rodriguez was saturated from his shirt to his tear ducts.

Nervous perspiration, a cele­bratory ice water shower and the sight of his ailing dad were the culprits. C.R. Rodriguez, a widower hindered by a stroke these days, hadn't been to an Indians game in more than a dozen years.

He picked the perfect one with which to end that streak.

Junior catcher Sierra "C.C." Rock's two-run double in the sixth and right-hander Kayla Cox's 18 strikeouts lifted the Indians (24-7-1) to a 2-0 triumph against Niceville (24-4) in the Class 5A state title game before roughly 300 at the National Training Center.

Rodriguez's lone regret: The attendance wasn't 301.

"I'd go over there to (my parents' house) to check up on 'em all the time, and we'd always talk about winning a state championship," said Rodriguez, who lost his mom three years ago. "I just wish I had my mom here because that's all we ever talked about."

Joining C.R. in the stands on a breezy Thursday night was a throng heavy with East Bay boosters, including 47 football players who brought a charter bus over with their coaching staff. All the players were in their game jerseys to see the Indians capture the school's first team state title.

Perhaps they sensed what the Indians did months ago: This was the softball team's year.

"I knew in their heart, even in my heart, this was the team," said Rodriguez, whose only previous state semifinal berth came in 2001. "If we didn't win it, it wasn't going to be for a while."

Buoying that belief was Cox, a North Carolina State signee who struck out the first six hitters she faced and escaped bases-loaded jams in the fifth and seventh with strikeouts.

Niceville's final threat was set up by two singles and an error. But with two outs, Cox got No. 2 batter Shannon Brinkley to swing futilely at a high inside curve. Cox (18-1-1) threw her black glove to the ground and leaped jubilantly as teammates converged.

"It just felt amazing," said Cox, who struck out 12 in the semifinals. "I just felt like God took hold of me that last whole inning."

Similarly, Rock said she felt a celestial clasp in the sixth. Hitless in the state tournament to that point, Rock was instructed by Rodriguez to simply slap the ball with pinch-runner Kiara Burrows and Nina Caisse on third and first, respectively.

She then smashed a double to left-center.

"I went up to the plate, and I'm like, 'Lord, please, I know I'm due,' " Rock said. " 'Give me that extra power.' "

It was one of five hits, two by junior Nicole Kennedy, for the Indians, who committed one error in the state tournament.

"I couldn't have won without that hit and (the defense)," Cox said. "So I think it's well known now that we had a great team this year."

fast facts

State softball

National Training Center, Clermont

Admission: $8 Parking: $5

Thursday's results

Class 2A final: Pine Castle Christian 6, Lafayette 2

Class 5A final: East Bay 2, Niceville 0

Today's schedule

Class 4A semifinals: St. Johns Bartram Trail vs. Naples, 5; Dunnellon vs. Jensen Beach, 7

Class 6A semifinal: Sarasota vs. Miami Braddock, 2 *

* Palm Beach Gardens advanced to the title game after its half of the bracket was vacated.

Class 5A state softball: East Bay beats Niceville 2-0 for state title 05/13/10 [Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 11:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. ‘Biggest fight' behind her, Petra Kvitova returns ahead of schedule


    PARIS — Five months after a home invader's knife sliced into her left hand, Petra Kvitova will return to competitive tennis at the French Open, a last-minute decision to make her comeback earlier than expected.

    Petra Kvitova adjusts her hair during a news conference at Roland Garros Stadium, where she will make her tennis return at the French Open. Kvitova's left hand was badly injured by a knife-wielding intruder in December; she has recovered ahead of schedule. [Associated Press]
  2. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans


    What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking when he made that oh-so-bad dive for a ball in the seventh inning Friday? Well, we'll let him tell you ...

  3. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?


    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.

  4. Rays at Twins, 2:10 p.m. Saturday, Minneapolis

    The Heater

    Today: at Twins

    2:10, Target Field, Minneapolis

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  5. State baseball: Unbeaten Calvary Christian makes it 29 straight wins, reaches final


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian is one game from season-long perfection. And its first state championship.

     Calvary Christian players celebrate their win after the FHSAA class 4A semi-final against American Heritage on Friday May 26, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary defeated American Heritage 7 to 1. Calvary takes on Pensacola Catholic in the championship tomorrow night, at Hammond Stadium.