Patience at the plate made the difference for St. Thomas as it overcame a five-run deficit behind nine walks during the fifth and sixth innings to win its Region 4-7A semifinal game 15-6 over host Cooper City. on Tuesday night.
St. Thomas will play at West Boca on Thursday or Friday.
The Cowboys (13-12) were cruising with a 6-1 lead behind four home runs, two by Ansley Warner and a three-run shot by Shannon Legacki.
But it all fell apart in the fifth for the Cowboys. Kelly Coulter no-hit St. Thomas two weeks ago in a 1-0 district championship win and was mowing the Raiders down until the fifth. She lost control and walked four hitters. With her confidence dropping, St. Thomas took advantage, forcing her to throw strikes. A double by Steph Sobolewski gave St. Thomas an 8-6 lead to cap a a seven-run fifth.
“Our bats were so much better around than the last time. We brought the game to her,” St. Thomas coach Bryan Baucom said. “We knew that she could get into a tendency to walk people. They’ve been up in games and faltered. I told my kids be patient, be patient.”
It didn’t end in the fifth though. The Raiders drew five more walks off reliever Sabrina Hebding which led to five more runs as the Raiders pushed the lead to 13-6. A three-run home run by Gwen Svekis gave St. Thomas an 11-6 lead. A two-run double by Sam Strum made it 13-6.
Svekis led St. Thomas went 3 for 3 with a pair of walks, two home runs and five RBI.
WP: Behm. LP: Coulture
The cellar-dwelling Coconut Creek football team needed an emotional boost. and first-year coach Kareem Reid is ready to provide it.
The former Coral Springs star defensive lineman, a UCF teammate of NFL All-Pro Brandon Marshall, relishes the opportunity to turn around a program that finished 1-9 last season.
“I want to change the culture of the team and bring some championship habits to a program that really hasn’t had it the past few years.” Reid said. “The kids have bought in quickly and their attitudes have been great. I have a blank canvas to work with. Attitude is something I can’t coach.”
Reid projects the building blocks to be Jhakari Harrison, a dynamic multiple threat quarterback prospect, all-purpose speedster Malek Young and promising defensive back Melquan Duncan.
Reid landed his first head coaching position following six years as an assistant, including last season as defensive coordinator at Pebblebrook High School in Mableton, Ga.
• State third round play-in — Benjamin 15, St. Thomas Aquinas 11: The Buccaneers staved off a second-half comeback effort by St. Thomas and defeated the Raiders to advance to the state tournament semifinals.
“Getting to the state tournament is such a dream,” said Buccaneer attacker Maria Dattolo, who finished with a team-high five goals. “That was our main goal this season; we just wanted to get into that final four.”
A late 5-1 run in the final minutes of the first half by the Buccaneers gave them a five-goal cushion at the halfway mark, taking advantage of spotty defense by the Raiders and a lack of cohesiveness on the attack.
The Raiders made their way back into the game with four unanswered goals to make it a 13-10 game with just under 11 minutes remaining in the match.
• Second round state play-in — Delray Beach Atlantic 13, Piper 0: In a defensive battle for nearly four quarters, Delray Beach Atlantic (13-3) scored two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter as the Eagles defeated host Piper.
Atlantic advances to the state quarterfinal round at Osceola High School in Kissimmee to face Miami Monsignor Pace on Friday.
Quarterback Tatyana Voltaire led Piper (5-10) with 84 passing yards and 38 rushing yards. Wide receiver Alexandra Raldiris added three catches for 65 yards for the Bengals.
• District 9 semifinal — Cardinal Gibbons d. South Plantation 25-13, 25-19, 25-14: Dylan Hall 13 kills, 15 digs, 11 service points, 2 aces, 2 blocks. Brandon Veliky 11 kills, 4 digs, 17 assists, 8 service points, 3 aces, 2 blocks. Corry Short 12 kills, 12 digs, 12 service points, 3 aces, 2 blocks. CG 19-2
• District 9 semifinal — St. Thomas Aquinas d. Pine Crest 25-27, 25-17, 25-17, 29-27: Tony Alfonso 10 kills, 3 blocks, 3 digs. Steven Graf 20 assists, 3 blocks.
• District 11 semifinal — Chaminade-Madonna d. Everglades 25-12, 25-19, 25-19: Dan Callahan 13 service points, 5 aces, 9 kills, 3 blocks. Victor Zamudio 16 kills, 6 digs, block. Edward Fuerst 16 service points, 4 aces. CM 19-5