VERO BEACH — Bloomingdale will have to remember the way back to the Treasure Coast. The Bulls plated two runs in the top of the first inning, and junior ace Lace Smith overpowered Vero Beach (15-10) in a 2-1 Class 8A region final victory that sends Bloomingdale back to Vero Beach on Wednesday for state.
"It wasn't her best game today for sure, but she moved the ball around enough. Her ball may have been a little more flat than usual," first-year coach Mandy Schuerman said of Smith.
Smith (22-2) didn't appear to be off her game. Her riseball resulted in the first 15 outs being recorded via strikeout or balls put in the air. She finished with 12 strikeouts and allowed just three base hits, two of them doubles.
"I wasn't on like I usually am. I hope I come back here and pitch better in the states. The next 48 hours are going to be a little nervous," said Smith, whose team faces Cypress Bay at Historic Dodgertown.
Bloomingdale (25-3) leadoff hitter Lizzie Jackson, who had three hits and reached base all four at-bats, opened with a single, swiped second base and scored on a throwing error on Taylor Engman's sacrifice bunt for a 1-0 lead.
Jenna Beswick drove in Engman four batters later on a long fly to centerfield for all the runs Bloomingdale (25-3) needed.
Vero Beach's Autumn Green opened the final inning with a single, but following a strikeout, pinch runner Brianna James was caught stealing by catcher Sammie Selden. Following a pinch-hit double to deep left, Smith induced a weak grounder to end the game with the tying run on second.
3A: CDS makes history
ODESSA — Having won its first playoff game 11 days ago, this season has already been the most successful in Carrollwood Day history. Now the Patriots can add another milestone: a region championship.
In a back-and-forth game where Carrollwood Day trailed by three runs in the fourth inning, the Patriots rallied for a 12-7 victory over Cornerstone Charter Academy to advance to the Class 3A final four, the first CDS athletic team to achieve the feat.
"I want CDS to be the premier private school softball program in the county, and we're capable of doing it. We expect to be there this year and next year and the year after that," coach Chuck Fest said.
The Patriots (16-7) were behind 7-5 in the bottom of the fifth before tying the score. Savannah Bennett led off the inning with a single. Amanda Rose singled to centerfield, and both scored when Rose's base hit bounced under the centerfielder's glove and rolled all the way to the fence.
CDS scored five runs in the sixth. Bennett drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single for an 8-7 lead. Emalee Jansen scored on a wild pitch, and Bennett crossed the plate later on an error. Christina Polanco's two-RBI single provided the final margin.
Bryan Burns, Times correspondent