ST. PETERSBURG — It was a ho-hum victory for Admiral Farragut, a 15-0 rout over Northside Christian that was cut short after four innings because of the mercy rule.
But Monday’s win in the Class 3A, District 10 semifinals was significant for the Blue Jackets, who secured their first playoff appearance.
“It was kind of surreal,” said first baseman Claudia Pizzarelli, who has played softball at the school since eighth grade. “We pretty much had to start from scratch. But this was our goal. It’s everything we wanted, and it’s such a great feeling to know we’ll be in the playoffs.”
For years, the Blue Jackets (14-2) were on the other end of those lopsided games. The turnaround started last season with the arrival of Corynn Miner, a power pitcher who nearly helped Admiral Farragut reach the playoffs in 2013.
On Monday, Miner threw a no-hitter against the Mustangs and allowed just three runners to reach base. The sophomore had plenty of support from an offense that recorded 16 hits. Eight players in the lineup had at least one hit. Kyndal Olander went 3-for-3, Maiya Fudge was 4-for-4, and Alexa Smith hit two doubles.
“We were more confident than we were nervous,” Smith said. “It’s something we’ve been waiting for, and it’s crazy how well everything has come together.”
The top-seeded Blue Jackets face No. 2 seed St. Petersburg Catholic in Wednesday’s final. The Barons advanced with a 13-2 win over host Shorecrest that lasted five innings.
SPC showed off its power with Allison Keen hitting two home runs and Lena Trehy adding a homer.
“We’re hitting a lot better right now,” Barons coach Tom Fabian said. “We’re learning how to be more selective. But we have to find a way to keep hitting against Farragut. It’ll be tough. We lost to them twice in the regular season, but they were close.
“We know we at least have a chance.”