Coral Reef kept scoring in bunches throughout the softball playoffs.
But for the first three innings of the Region 4-8A final Friday morning, Goleman kept the Barracudas’ bats silent.
Coral Reef proved, however, its team has more than just solid hitting.
Behind a solid pitching performance from Dayna Wilson, Coral Reef squeezed out enough runs in a four-run fourth inning that catapulted it to a 4-1 win against the visiting Gators and clinch its first trip to the state final four.
Coral Reef (26-2) will play Orlando Timber Creek next Friday at the Vero Beach Sports Village in a Class 8A state semifinal.
“It’s amazing because the school has never been this far,” sophomore third baseman Carsyn Gordon said. “One inning I just told them we need to get hits or we’re not going anywhere. If we hadn’t made the plays we’ve made all year, we wouldn’t be on our way to state.”
Gordon and Denver Keller combined to go 7 for 8 and lead a 14-hit effort from a lineup that had scored 33 runs in its previous two regional playoff games.
The Barracudas broke through in the fourth when shortstop Kylan Becker, who went 2 for 4, tripled to left field to drive in center fielder Amy Roach. Cassandra Garcia followed up with a double to left center to make it 2-0. Keller then delivered the big hit with a two-run single that scored Garcia and Becker. Cristina Colli went 2 for 4, and catcher Sarah Ortiz went 1 for 2.
“I don’t even know how to put this into words,” Coral Reef coach Dario Rodriguez said. “Based on what we did last year, I knew we had a chance to do something like this.”
Coral Reef pitcher Dayna Wilson (17-2) held the Gators to five hits — three of which came from Melissa Costero, who went 3 for 4. Emily Santos put Goleman on the board with a single that scored Sharon Zamora, but Wilson ended the threat forcing a fly out to right.
“I knew we had great hitting and defense from the start of the season, but what our pitchers have done has been great,” Rodriguez said. “Michelle Mesa, our other starting pitcher, is undefeated and Dayna is our war horse. She just battles and doesn’t give up.”
WP: Dayna Wilson (16-2). LP: Vicky Morales.
• Region 4-4A final — Gulliver 9, Coral Springs Charter 0 (6): Gulliver cruised in a rain-shorten win over Coral Springs Charter at Betti Stradling Memorial Park in Coral Springs.
With Gulliver leading 9-0 heading into the bottom half of the sixth inning, the clouds opened and a deluge ensued. Rather than delay the inevitable, the umpires called the game sending the Raiders to the state semifinals as they look to win their fourth consecutive state championship.
Gulliver will play the Bradford-Astronaut winner in Vero Beach next Friday.
The Raiders (23-5) wasted no time jumping on Coral Springs Charter starting pitcher Heather Bramos. The first four hitters got on base and the Raiders quickly led 2-0. They added single runs in the second and third before blowing it open in the fourth and fifth innings.
Gabbee Dranee went 3 for 4 with a run and three RBI to lead Gulliver.
WP: Dranee. LP: Bramos.