Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

State softball preview: Two more wins is next logical step for Canterbury

ST. PETERSBURG — At Canterbury, the players wear practice T-shirts that read, "The Tradition Continues," but more and more these days that tradition feels like a dynasty.

The Crusaders have built a reputation around playing and winning games in May.

Since Jody Moore arrived at Canterbury in 2006, the Crusaders have made the playoffs all five seasons. In Moore's first year, they were region semifinalists; the next year they made it to the region finals. In 2008, Canterbury won its first region title and advanced to the state final four. Last year, the Crusaders reached the state title game.

The Crusaders expect to play this late in the season. Canterbury is the first county school to qualify for three straight state final fours.

"Every year, the girls get better with experience," said starting pitcher Krissy Longstreet, who struck out nine and allowed only two hits over six innings in last year's state semifinal win. "This will be our third year going back to states, so I think we'll have more experience in the big game. And we just have heart every year."

The Crusaders may perform like veterans in the playoffs, but Moore still likes to point out how young her team is.

The roster is dominated by underclassmen. Five sophomores and two freshmen start.

"That's a very young team in the world of varsity softball," Moore said.

But this is the first season the Crusaders fielded an entire roster of high schoolers without having to dip into the middle school for depth.

"It definitely makes a difference at the level you can push them," Moore said.

Canterbury had to replace three senior starters — Macey Hall, Kirstyn Smith and Chelsea Weiland represented its largest senior class — from last year's team.

The Crusaders, though, are at a level now where they can simply reload every year.

"We started off kind of slow this season," said leftfielder Nina Gomez, the lone senior. "We kind of expected to be the team we were at the end of last season. But we realized that's not how it happens, and we started working the way we're supposed to. And now the team's a lot stronger this year."

The Crusaders will need to be stronger to defeat Jacksonville Eagle's View at 7 p.m. Monday. The Warriors themselves had only two seniors last year when they shut down the Crusaders in the state final.

Eagle's View returns virtually its entire lineup. It did not give up a run in three region playoff games.

But the Crusaders are ready.

They won't be intimidated.

"We've played in big games before," Longstreet said. "We scheduled teams like St. Petersburg Catholic and Northside Christian this year, and those were big games. So, we know what to expect."

And, if the Crusaders don't win the school's first team state title in any sport this season, well, there's always next year.

. Up next

State final four

National Training Center, Clermont

Class A semifinals: Canterbury vs. Jacksonville Eagle's View, 7 p.m.; Hernando Christian vs. Boca Raton Grandview Prep, noon, Monday

Final: 4 p.m., Tuesday

Admission: $8; Parking: $5

State softball preview: Two more wins is next logical step for Canterbury 05/08/10 [Last modified: Saturday, May 8, 2010 9:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)

    College

    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  2. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  3. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

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

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip

    Blogs

    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.
  5. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games

    Blogs

    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.