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Holy Names sweats one out; Canterbury romps in region softball

AHN has now won 11 in a row while the Crusaders score seven runs in the first inning Tuesday night.
Academy of the Holy Name is moving on to the region finals after the Jaguars topped Calvary Christian 1-0 Tuesday night for their 11th straight victory.
Academy of the Holy Name is moving on to the region finals after the Jaguars topped Calvary Christian 1-0 Tuesday night for their 11th straight victory. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published May 12
Updated May 12

TAMPA — When it was time to come through, Annabelle Sardja offered up a slice of deja vu.

For the second time in two weeks, Academy of the Holy Names defeated Calvary Christian in walk-off fashion. Sardja’s eighth-inning, two-out single to left-centerfield Tuesday night scored senior Rachael Petrarca with the game’s only run for a 1-0, Class 3A region semifinal victory.

It was the 11th consecutive win for Holy Names (16-5), which goes for its second final-four berth in school history on Friday against Lakeland McKeel Academy, a 3-0 winner against Cypress Creek.

The Jaguars, ranked No. 5 in 3A by MaxPreps, beat No. 6 Calvary Christian (21-6) for the district title 13 days earlier — one of three victories by Holy Names against the Warriors in four meetings this year.

“Both teams were in it to win it,” Holy Names coach Jeff Krone said. “There was no letup on either side. Both teams were one hit away (from winning).

“The last two games (against Calvary Christian), we’ve walked off to win. Hats off to their team … and what can you say about Annabelle?”

Sardja, a senior headed to Florida SouthWestern, ended what she began. The right-hander tossed a complete-game, two-hitter with five strikeouts and one walk. She faced the minimum 18 batters through the first six innings while allowing only one hit, a fourth-inning lead-off single by junior Elizabeth George, who was eventually thrown out at second on a steal attempt.

But it was Sardja’s team-leading 20th RBI of the year that sent the Jaguars into a wild celebration. Petrarca singled with one out in the eighth and moved to second on a two-out walk to sophomore Camryn Feast. Sardja saw a 3-0 count go full with two called strikes before sending a Malia Connelly pitch into left-center to score Petrarca.

“(On) my last pitch, I said this is the one right here (and) I could do something with this,” Sardja said. “Calvary is really good and a well-respected team. So I was like, ‘All right, I’ve got to bring my A game right here.’ I haven’t pitched my best yet against them, and I think I really did (Tuesday). From beginning to end, I was like whatever happens, to God be the glory.”

It was the first run allowed by Connelly, a freshman, in her last 14 innings. The left-hander allowed six hits and threw 68 of 107 pitches for strikes.

“This is the fourth game (with Holy Names) and they’ve all been close,” Calvary Christian coach Darrell Don said. “We’ve got a freshman on the mound who had thrown 14 shutout innings between the last two games (and) you can’t ask for a whole lot more.”

Calvary Christian was denied a 1-0 lead in the top of the seventh as Holy Names senior leftfielder Zeta Bennett made a diving catch of a Samantha Leski liner with a runner on second and two outs. The Warriors also threatened in the top of the eighth when freshman Reagan Lavina tripled down the leftfield line with two outs. But Sardja induced sophomore Isabelle Doce to pop up to catcher Genevieve Chiellini to end the rally.

“You just got to get the big hit,” Don said, “and they got one at the end.”

2A: Crusaders cruise

ST. PETERSBURG — Canterbury scored seven in the first inning en route to securing its 20th victory of the season with a 15-0 win over Academy at the Lakes in their Class 2A region semifinal.

Morgen Talley, an eighth-grader, had two home runs, a triple and six RBIs to lead the way for the Crusaders (20-9), while junior pitcher Mackenzie Bergstrom retired every hitter she faced over the four-inning game.

Talley, freshmen Irianis Garcia and Tayten Moore and sophomore Maya Bickford all had triples in the first inning as the Crusaders’ first seven batters reached base. Bergstrom capped off the big inning with a two-RBI single. Sophomore Kalli Cannon also had an RBI single in the inning.

Moore’s RBI single in the second inning made it 8-0 and Talley’s first homer, a two-run shot over left center made it 10-0 in the third.

Sophomore Alayah Pedersen led off the fourth inning with a solo home run and freshman Payton Cushman had an RBI single to make it 12-0. With two outs and two runners on base, Talley sent the first pitch she saw deep over the wall in left-centerfield to end the game via the mercy rule.

Region softball semifinals

7A: Lakewood Ranch 15, Newsome 4

6A: Mitchell 11, Sunlake 1

6A: Durant 2, Bartow, 1

5A: Auburndale 7, Pasco 5

5A: Land O’Lakes 3, River Ridge 1

4A: Hernando 14, Wesley Chapel 2

4A: Lake Region 4, Robinson 1

3A: Lakeland McKeel 3, Cypress Creek 0

3A: Holy Names 1, Calvary Christian 0

2A: Canterbury 15, Academy at the Lakes 0

2A: Seffner Christian 7, Melbourne Holy Trinity 2

Region softball finals

All games at 7 p.m. Friday unless noted

6A: Mitchell at Venice

6A: Viera at Durant

5A: Land O’Lakes at Palmetto

4A: Hernando at Lake Region

3A: Lakeland McKeel at Holy Names

2A: Canterbury at Fort Myers Evangelical Christian, 5

2A: Seffner Christian at Mount Dora Christian