Coral Reef’s softball players weren’t worried about a day off after Thursday afternoon’s victory.
They were wondering when they could swing the bats again.
“Coach, are we hitting tomorrow?” asked designated player Cassandra Garcia.
Coach Dario Rodriguez answered: “Up to you.”
Garcia chose batting practice.
She and the rest of Coral Reef’s lineup’s hard work continued to result in potent offense Thursday as the Barracudas pounded Lourdes pitching for 15 runs on 16 hits in a 15-0, four-inning, mercy-rule victory over the Bobcats in a Region 4-8A quarterfinal.
Coral Reef (24-2) won its first regional playoff game and will host Palmetto on Tuesday in the regional semifinals at 4 p.m. The Barracudas have defeated the Panthers in all four meetings this season.
The Barracudas never gave the Bobcats a chance, scoring five runs in the first and seven in the second as nearly every hitter in their lineup got a hit.
Every batter in their lineup and three reserves either reached base at least once or drove in a run.
“The beauty of coaching this team is that I can put anybody in the lineup or at any position in the field and not have to be worried about them,” Rodriguez said. “Obviously, some are better suited to play certain roles than others, but there really isn’t a significant drop-off.”
Cristina Colli went 3 for 4 with five RBI to lead the barrage. Denver Keller went 2 for 2 with two RBI, and Nicole Rilo and Amy Roach each had two RBI. Garcia, leadoff hitter Kylan Becker and Carsyn Gordon had two hits each.
Pitcher Michelle Mesa remained undefeated for the season and pitched a two-hitter, walking four. She was helped a couple of times by her defense, which turned three double plays.
WP: Michelle Mesa. LP: Vanessa Flores.
• Region 4-8A quarterfinal — American 8, Coral Gables 4: After winning 20 of their 22 games during the season, the American softball team could’ve panicked after the Patriots fell behind Coral Gables in the fourth inning of their Region 4-8A quarterfinal game.
But Michelle Murch would have none of it. The American first baseman walked up to the plate with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth and drilled a line shot to the center-field fence for a bases-clearing triple to give her team a 5-4 lead, and the Patriots pulled away from there, defeating Gables at American High School.
American (21-2) will travel to Goleman High School on Tuesday for a regional semifinal and will be looking for its first berth in the regional finals.
After grabbing a 2-0 lead after two, American watched as Gables (14-10) rallied to tie it with two in the third and took the lead in the fourth with two more runs, as pitcher Christie Falcon came through with an RBI triple to spark the rally.
But Falcon got no support on the mound as Gables committed seven errors, including the first two Patriot batters in the fourth which ultimately set the stage for Murch’s big hit and the American rally.
WP: A. Rincon LP: C. Falcon Top performers: M. Murch 2-4, 3 RBI. S. Benitez 2-3, 2 RBI. Catie Falcon 3-4, RBI. Cat Ruggiano 2-4.