Bishop McLaughlin star Spencer Valdespino's inside-the-park, walk-off home run rescued her team after its late collapse and lifted the Hurricanes past Tampa Prep, 10-9 in Tuesday's Class 3A, District 8 semifinal. Bishop (12-14) will host Seffner Christian in Thursday's 5 p.m. final.
"Oh my gosh…" Hurricanes coach John Yaratch said.
Bishop led 9-2 in the fifth inning before, Yaratch said, his team "kind of imploded."
Tampa Prep scored two runs on errors, poor Bishop decisions and some timely hits in the sixth. The Terps tacked on five more runs in the seventh to tie the score.
That was when Valdespino, a Nicholls State soccer signee, stepped up to the plate with two outs. The senior outfielder blasted a pitch deep and sped around the bases for her second inside-the-park homer of the night.
"Just an awesome night for her," Yaratch said of Valdespino, who also had two singles. "Thank goodness for her because she pulled it out for us."
Brooke Baptiste also had a homer for Bishop, and pitcher Kelsey Butler had eight strikeouts on the mound and finished 3-for-4 at the plate.
Hernando Christian rolls
BROOKSVILLE — Hernando Christian was looking to reach the state playoffs for the ninth consecutive season, a run that has included eight district titles.
The Lions had no trouble getting there in Tuesday's 2A-4 semifinals against Seven Rivers Christian, winning 8-0 after outscoring the Warriors 21-6 over their previous two meetings this year.
HCA ace Ashley McKay continued her dominant season by tossing a shutout, her third of the season.
Seven Rivers (2-14) was overwhelmed early by the Lions' bats. McKay, Holly Field and Briana Hogan pounded the ball to lead HCA (15-5) to the large advantage.
Academy at the Lakes (12-4) had a bye in the three-team district and face the Lions in Thursday's final.
Derek J. LaRiviere, Times correspondent