Softball region finals
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
At stake: A berth in next week's state tournament in Clermont.
Venice (8-7-1) at East Lake (27-0): The Eagles are not only trying to make their second straight trip to the state tournament, they're trying to join Palm Harbor University (2005) as the only county teams to win state titles while going undefeated. East Lake, ranked No. 2 in the nation in the latest ESPN Rise poll, showed its depth in recent weeks, beating Northeast 15-0 in the region quarterfinals despite not having ace Alyssa Bache, who was nursing an injury. Bache returned with a 13-0 shutout victory over Pinellas Park in the region semifinals. East Lake has allowed 12 runs all season and has 19 shutouts. The offense has been on a tear, as well. The Eagles have scored 12 or more runs in each of their last four games. Venice is in the region final as a district runnerup and struggled to stay above .500. But the Indians have showed they win close games, beating Chamberlain 4-3 in the region quarterfinals and knocking off Sickles 1-0 in the region semifinals.
West Palm Beach Berean Christian (10-7) at Canterbury (19-10): The Crusaders are trying to make their fourth straight trip to the state tournament and win the first state title in school history. To prepare for the teams they will face at the state level, the Crusaders played in more tournaments and against public school teams in higher classifications. Canterbury is led by the pitching duo of Krissy Longstreet and Emily Winesett, who often pitch in the same game. The only concern recently has been the Crusaders' lack of runs. In the region quarterfinals, Canterbury didn't score until the eighth inning and it was on a squeeze play. The Crusaders showed more life on offense in the region semifinals with a 7-3 victory over Sarasota Christian. Berean Christian also has played a tough schedule against bigger programs. After losing three of their last four in the regular season, the Bulldogs have won four in a row. Alison Finn leads the team in hitting (.447) and on-base percentage (.523).
Bob Putnam, Times staff writer