Softball | South Florida SlamFest

Balanced effort fuels American Heritage

 

a1fernandez@MiamiHerald.com

Broward County softball teams picked up a couple of championships Saturday at the 19th annual Pinecrest Physical Therapy South Florida SlamFest at Palmetto Bay Park.

Plantation American Heritage regained some momentum this weekend on its quest to win a second state title in a row.

The Patriots capped a strong performance with a 7-3 victory against Miami Westminster Christian in the final of the tournament’s Grey bracket. Earlier in the day, Coral Springs Charter defeated West Broward 7-3 to win the White bracket championship.

American Heritage (13-1) broke a 3-3 tie with three runs in the top of the fifth inning. Junior shortstop Ashley Belans delivered the go-ahead hit with a double to right field that scored two runs. Belans went 3 for 4 with three RBI.

Freshman pitcher Madison Canby struck out two over five innings and allowed only three hits. Jenna Goodrich pitched the final two striking out three batters and preventing the Warriors from coming back.

“We had some down spots here and there, but we’re getting better each game and that team we played is a quality team,” American Heritage coach Marty Cooper said.

American Heritage, which suffered its lone setback over a week ago against Weston Cypress Bay, has come back strong with impressive victories since.

The Patriots also defeated St. Thomas Aquinas, Punta Gorda Charlotte and Jacksonville Bishop Snyder in the tournament.

Westminster Christian cut Heritage’s early lead to 3-2 with two runs in the third on an RBI single by Caitlin Charlton and a sacrifice fly by Ally Mena. The Warriors tied the game the next inning on an error when Heritage right fielder Jessie Brown dropped a fly ball by Brittany Husk allowing Rachel Valdes to score. But Canby limited the damage.

“This is a real good group that battles pretty hard, and doesn’t like to lose,” Cooper said. “We’re trying to improve for that playoff run and get better.”

•  SlamFest White bracket championship — Coral Springs Charter 7, West Broward 3: Heather Bramos led the Panthers (13-1) with a solid effort on the mound pitching a complete game and striking out 10. Casey Huber went 3 for 4 with an RBI and scored twice. Kayla Scaperrotta also went 3 for 4, scoring twice and driving in a run as the Panthers scored four runs in the top of the sixth to put the game away.

Charter defeated Naples Gulf Coast 7-3 to advance after defeating South Dade and Coral Gables, each 6-3, on Friday.

•  SlamFest Blue bracket final — Naples Barron Collier 7, Miami Gulliver 3: The three-time defending state champion Raiders (8-2) appeared ready to lock up another tournament championship until a nightmarish bottom of the fifth inning in which they gave up seven runs on seven hits and an error.

Kailee Davidson’s single to load the bases with no outs began a string of six consecutive hits off Gulliver starter Gabbee Draney that brought home six runs. Caitie Hogue’s double plated another as Barron Collier, a state title contender in Class 6A, then held off the Raiders behind starting pitcher Hannah Vet.

Ashley Leon went 3 for 4 with an early run to lead Gulliver (8-2) and Stephanie Texeira and Draney each drove in runs to give the Raiders a 3-0 lead in the top half of the inning.

Linescores

Grey bracket final – American Heritage 7, Westminster Christian 3

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WP: Madison Canby. LP: Kelli Kleiss.

White bracket final — Coral Springs Charter 7, West Broward 3

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WB1000110372

WP: Heather Bramos (6-1). LP: Demereaux.

Blue bracket final – Naples Barron Collier 7, Gulliver 3

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BC000070x782

WP: Hannah Vet. LP: Gabbee Draney (5-2).

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