Coral Reef’s softball team remembered the feeling of watching a potential GMAC championship torn away by rival Palmetto.
The Barracudas refused to relive their nightmare again Wednesday night.
Trailing by as many as three runs early, Coral Reef battled its way back and avenged last year’s defeat against the Panthers with a 8-6 comeback win to capture its first GMAC title at Palmetto Bay Park.
“This is big for us because we wanted to come back after what happened last year,” shortstop Kylan Becker said. “We feel like this is our year because we’re all stepping it up hitting and pitching and we have a lot of motivation.”
The Barracudas (21-2) scored two runs in the fourth and then plated four in the bottom of the fifth to complete the comeback a day after rallying from a four-run deficit to Southwest.
Cassandra Garcia’s single up the middle scored Amy Roach to tie the score at 6 after entering the fifth down 6-4. Garcia later scored on a wild pitch and Carsyn Gordon scored moments later on an error at the plate.
Dayna Wilson, who threw all seven innings, pitched a pair of shutout innings to seal the win.
“I’m so proud of these girls for what they’ve been able to do,” Coral Reef coach Dario Rodriguez said. “They deserve this. They never feel like they are out of a game. It’s a testament to their hard work.”
Becker led Coral Reef by going 3 for 4 with an RBI and finishing 8 for 11 combined in three tournament games. Gordon went 2 for 3 with two runs, and Sarah Ortiz went 1 for 2.
Coral Reef, the top seed in District 16-8A, defeated Palmetto for the third time this season. The Barracudas will host next week’s district tournament and play Killian in the semifinals Tuesday afternoon. The Barracudas are looking to make it back to regionals and win a playoff game in that round for the first time in school history.
“This year, we all know our ups and downs and we know how to do things correctly when we’re not,” Gordon said. “No one is selfish on this team and we’re putting in a total team effort.”
WP: Dayna Wilson (14-2). LP: Amanda Guglietta (12-6).