LAND O’LAKES — The milestones keep adding up for Sunlake, which won its first region semifinal at the expense of nemesis Braden River. The host Seahawks edged the Pirates 1-0 Wednesday, avenging region quarterfinal losses to that team in each of the past two seasons.
“It’s great to beat a team like that,” Sunlake coach Nelson Garcia said. “They’re a good team.”
So is Sunlake, which won its first conference and district titles in school history before its first-ever region semifinal victory. Now the Seahawks advance to their first region final with a school-best 24-2 record.
The lone run of the game against Braden River came on back-to-back doubles by sluggers Paige Maseda and Jenna Lord in the third inning. The Seahawks were not without their chances, stranding 11 baserunners in six innings, including leaving the bases loaded in the second and fifth.
“All we have to do is get one run more than the other team,” Garcia said. “That’s what we did.”
Sunlake had seven hits with Maseda and Kendra Falby, who singled twice, pacing the offense with two apiece. Garcia figured his team might have had a few more hits if not for three bunt attempts that were popped up for easy outs.
“We should’ve had two more runs,” he said, adding, “You’ve got to get the bunt down.”
As has been the case all season, Sunlake got a strong performance from its starting pitcher. Southpaw Mikayla Hoschak tossed a two-hitter with three strikeouts and a walk.
“We’ve got five pitchers and all of them have done well all year long,” Garcia said. “They’ve kept us in the games till we get our bats going.”
Braden River (15-11) got a solid effort on the mound from starter Maddie Lindsley, who despite allowing seven hits worked out of two bases-loaded jams to limit the Seahawks to just one run.