CLERMONT — Canterbury arranged its infielders in nearly every formation. But Jacksonville Eagle's View defenders hit the ball where Crusaders defenders were not, at least through two innings of Monday's Class A state semifinal.
The Warriors did that by slap hitting. Eagle's View became the slap-happy experts of the 10-foot single, tapping the ball and racing 60 feet down the line. That style didn't produce a ton of runs, just enough to take the lead and maintain it.
The Warriors went up 5-0 before Canterbury came back, scoring twice in the fifth and sixth innings to cut the deficit to one. But the Crusaders ran out of comebacks and lost 5-4.
"We had four starters out there who were making their first start in a state tournament game," Canterbury coach Jody Moore said. "I think that (contributed) to some of the errors. (Eagle's View) put the ball in play early on, and we didn't make quick decisions. That's why we got behind."
In all, the Warriors had four hits and took advantage of two errors in the first two innings. After that, Moore made a switch, pulling starter Krissy Longstreet in favor of Emily Winesett.
Winesett allowed three hits and struck out seven. And Longstreet, who moved to catcher, made a great play on a catch off a foul tip in the fourth.
"We weren't that nervous when we fell behind," Winesett said. "We all wanted it bad and a feeling we could come back."
Canterbury (21-8) chipped away, scoring twice in the fifth off one hit and taking advantage of two late throws on fielder's choices. In the sixth, Jennifer Crosthwaite led off with a single and came home on Longstreet's double. Longstreet reached third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-4.
"Once we got the jitters out of the way, we were able to make it a close game," Longstreet said. "We just had to play our game and keep pumping each other up."
In the seventh, the Crusaders had runners on first and third with one out. But the threat ended with a pickoff at third and groundout by the next batter.
"We didn't execute when we needed to," Moore said. "But we have a young team and we have another year to develop."