The third time proved to be the charm — and Monsignor Pace’s ticket to the flag football semifinals.
After seeing two touchdowns called back by penalties, Brandi Harrington went high to grab a 3-yard touchdown strike from Sabrina Cabrera with 3:18 left Friday night for a soggy 6-0 triumph over Delray Beach Atlantic that moved the Spartans one step from the state title game.
Harrington also had dashed into the end zone two plays earlier for an apparent 19-yard score, only to see it nullified when she was called for flag guarding at the 10-yard line.
But in a game marred by a driving rainstorm through most of the first half, one score was all that was needed to keep the Spartans’ unbeaten season alive — not to mention Miami-Dade County’s hopes for a first flag football title.
Pace (17-0) advanced to Saturday morning’s semifinal against defending champion Seminole Ridge. The Loxahatchee school blasted Tarpon Springs 32-0 in its quarterfinal.
Cabrera, after some early struggles in the storm, found her rhythm in the second half to wind up with 145 passing yards. The sophomore completed 18 of 42 passes on the evening, going 7-for-8 on what turned out to be the decisive drive.
Harrington led the Spartans with six catches for 51 yards, including three grabs as Pace went 72 yards for the winning points. Ariana Connor and Kadesha Floyd added five catches each, with Floyd’s 12-yard grab providing a key first down as the Spartans ran out the clock.
Justice Porter led Atlantic with both her legs and arm, rushing for 65 yards and adding another 72 through the air. But the Spartans also picked her off three times, capped by Wilson’s over-the-shoulder grab to stop a potential tying drive with 1:49 left.
• District 14 final — Southwest d. Columbus 26-24, 25-19, 25-19: Southwest (21-5) eliminated Columbus (16-9) from the postseason with a straight-set victory at Ransom Everglades.
Southwest outside hitter William Rodriguez had 13 kills in the match, including the game-winning spike in the third set.
“My teammates are awesome. They set me really well,” he said. “It started with the pass, it came with the set and I just finished.”
The Eagles’ Ricardo Reguera also benefited from his team’s stellar set-up work, scoring a team-high 14 kills.
While the Eagles showed they have an explosive offense, it was their defense that really made the difference against Columbus. Southwest’s Aaron Dos Santos was relentless, recording a team-high 17 digs, including several diving attempts.
“Coach told us if we played scrappy and played good defense we would win,” Rodriguez said.
Southwest will host the winner of the District 13 final on Tuesday.
• Region 3-8A quarterfinal — Flanagan 4, Coral Glades 3: When Flanagan pitcher Gentry Fortuno re-entered the regional quarterfinal game against Coral Glades, his Falcons had nearly lost a 4-0 lead that he helped build before rain interrupted his start a day earlier. With a runner on third with no outs in the top of the sixth, Fortuno struck out the next three Jaguar batters to end the inning.
Fortuno went on to retire six consecutive batters in two innings of relief as host Flanagan defeated Coral Glades.
“It didn’t really affect me,” Fortuno said. “It was like any other game.”
When the game was restarted after the rainout from the day before, Flanagan (19-5) added a run in the second to take a 4-0 lead.
Coral Glades (13-9) took advantage of Flanagan pitcher Alex Sarmiento by scoring three runs in the fourth on an RBI single by Zach Thompson and on a two-run double by Oliver Levine to cut the deficit to 4-3.
“They battled back to get the game within one run,” Coral Glades coach Jorge Miranda said. “We had some great opportunities. They had that shut down arm that shut us down in the most key opportunity of the game.”
Coral Glades kept the game close due to the pitching of starter Jacob Melton and reliever Christian Dominguez against the Flanagan lineup.
“We had opportunities to get big hits,” Flanagan coach Ray Evans said. “We didn’t get big hits.”
Flanagan will host Douglas in the regional semifinal Tuesday.
WP: Fortuno (9-0). LP: Melton (5-3). SV: Fortuno. Top performers: Presno 2-2. Dodge 1-1, RBI, 2 BB. E. Rivera 1-3, RBI. Sued 1-3, double, 2 RBI. Thompson 1-3, RBI, SB. Levine 1-3, double, 2 RBI. Dominguez 3 IP, 2 H, 2 BB.
• Region 3-8A quarterfinal — Douglas 7, Cypress Bay 0: Douglas catcher Derek Fritz went 3-for-3 at the plate and freshman starting pitcher Jesus Luzardo pitched five innings of shutout baseball as the Eagles defeated visiting Cypress Bay in Parkland.
In the second inning, Michael Greenberg reached out on a 0-2 pitch and hit a solo homer to left-center field to give Douglas (19-4) a 1-0 lead.
“Our goal was to keep the ball to the opposite field,” Greenberg said. “I was just trying to put it into play.”
The Eagles added two more runs in the third on a two-run homer by Fritz to left and four runs in the fourth to extend the lead to 7-0.
Cypress Bay countered by loading the bases in the fifth and sixth innings. In both instances, Luzardo forced the Lightning to hit into double plays to end the threat.
“We kept giving ourselves chances,” Cypress Bay coach Michael White said. “The big turning point was not getting across the plate for a couple of runs.”
Luzardo induced four double plays in total.
“He pitched great for five innings,” Douglas coach Todd Fitz-Gerald said. “He pitched and battled and gave us a chance to win.”
WP: Luzardo (7-3). LP: Tache (9-1). Top performers:
• Region 4-5A quarterfinal — American Heritage 10, Riviera Beach Suncoast 0 (5): Right-handers Shawn Anderson and Louis Beck combined to hold Suncoast hitless while the Patriots offense overpowered visiting Suncoast with 10 hits — six of them for extra bases — Friday at American Heritage.
Anderson (11-1) went four innings, striking out eight batters before Beck finished up with a 1-2-3 fifth.
The Patriots (23-2) will face the Jensen Beach-Pompano Beach winner in Tuesday’s regional semifinals.
After a 30-minute weather delay to the start of the game, Heritage wasted no time getting on the board, with Zach Collins and Danny Zardon highlighting the first inning with back-to-back run-scoring doubles that led to a 3-0 lead against the Chargers (13-10) from Riviera Beach.
Leadoff hitter Brandon Diaz, David Villar, Collins and Zardon each had two hits for the game, including one extra-base hit apiece.
Collins and Zardon each homered off right-hander Jack Granger (2-3) and hit back-to-back run-scoring doubles in the first inning. Chase Reyes ended the game with a run-scoring single with one out in the fifth to put the mercy rule in effect.
WP: Anderson (11-1). LP: Granger (2-3).
• Region 4-2A quarterfinal — Mater East 14, Sheridan Hills Christian 0: Mater East improved to 12-6 and faces either Champagnat or Zion Lutheran on Tuesday.
Southridge boys’ basketball 6-5 senior small forward Mike Sanchez signed with Lewis and Clark College in Illinois. Sanchez helped the Spartans to a 17-7 record this past season.
Region 4-7A quarterfinal: Monarch at St. Thomas Aquinas, 3
Region 4-7A quarterfinal: Nova at Northeast, 3
Region 4-6A quarterfinal: Belen at Archbishop McCarthy, 7
Region 4-5A quarterfinal: Pompano Beach at Jensen Beach, 2
Region 4-3A quarterfinal: Highlands Christian at Boca Raton Pope John Paul II, noon
Region 4-3A quarterfinal: Dade Christian at Florida Christian, 11 a.m.
Region 4-2A quarterfinal: Westwood Christian at Colonial Christian, 10 a.m.
Region 4-2A quarterfinal: Champagnat Catholic at Zion Lutheran, 1
Region 4-6A final at Silver Lakes Park: Naples vs. Pines Charter, 7
Region 4-5A final: Lemon Bay at Plantation American Heritage, 7
Region 4-3A final at Plantation American Heritage: Westminster Christian at Delray American Heritage, 3
TRACK AND FIELD
Class 4A state meet at University of North Florida
State semifinal at Kissimmee Osceola: Monsignor Pace vs. Loxahatchee Seminole Ridge, 10:30 a.m.; Final: 7.