Faced with the tough task of having to beat a rival-quality opponent for a third time this season, the Goleman softball team answered the call on Tuesday afternoon when the No. 2 seeded Gators built an early 6-2 lead and hung on to edge No. 3 seed Miami Springs 6-5 in the District 14-8A semifinals at Slade Park in Hialeah.
Goleman (14-8) will square off against Coral Gables, a team that beat them twice during the regular season, in the District 14-8A championship game Thursday at 4 p.m. at Slade Park. Top-seeded Gables (14-8), as expected, easily mowed down Miami Beach 14-0 in a five-inning mercy rule contest in the other semifinal.
Goleman, which had just three hits the entire game, broke a 2-2 tie with four runs in the bottom of the third. Angie Montalvo had a leadoff single and, after a walk and an error at shortstop loaded the bases, Emily Santos delivered an RBI single for the only two hits of the inning.
Springs, which closed out its season 15-4 and failed to qualify for the regional playoffs for the first time since 2005 and only the second time since 1998, rallied for a single run in the fourth and two more in the fifth thanks to a two-out, 2-RBI double from Tiffany Turman.
But Vicky Morales came in and, with the tying run at third induced a ground-ball out to end the inning. She then retired the side in order in the sixth and, after giving up a one-out single in the seventh to Taylor Navarro, closed things out in style with a game-ending double play.
“Springs has a great team and we beat a great pitcher [Geneva Santos], and we knew the only way to do that was to be patient at the plate and play some good small ball,” Goleman coach Raul Costero said. “We preach family, character and unselfishness, and all three of those things carried us through today.”
As they always seem to do, the Falcon sisters, Christie and Katie led the way for Gables. Christie gave up just two hits and struck out eight on the mound to record her 12th win while also going 3 for 3 and two RBI. Katie went 3 for 4 with 4 RBI.
WP: F. Santos. LP: G. Santos. Top performers: Emily Santos 1-3, RBI. Taylor Navarro 3-4, RBI. Tiffany Turman 2-3, 2 RBI
WP: C. Falcon (12-8). LP: Seichrist. Top performers: C. Falcon 3-3, 2 RBI. K. Falcon 3-4, 4 RBI
DISTRICT 16-3A SEMIFINAL — FLORIDA CHRISTIAN 8, MARATHON 2
WP: Karli Smith. Top performers: Faith Vazquez 2-4, RBI. Monica Marquez 2-3. Brianna Ernst 1-3 RBI
DISTRICT 13-8A SEMIFINAL — HIALEAH GARDENS 9, HIALEAH HIGH 5
WP: Kristy Veiga 9K. Top performers: Alexa Lavernia 2-3. Jasmine Rodriguez 2-3.
DISTRICT 16-3A SEMIFINAL — WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN 15, PALMER TRINITY 0 (3)
WP: Victoria Perez (4-0). LP: J. Evans. Top performers: Jackie Feely 2-3, RBI. Maria Loboguerrero 1-2, RBI. Kristin Guthery RBI, double, 3 runs. WC 20-4