Class 8A softball state semifinals | Valrico Bloomingdale 9, Cypress Bay 1

Inspirational season comes to end for Lightning in state semifinals

 

IF YOU GO

What: The state softball finals.

When: Through Saturday.

Where: Historic Dodgertown, 3901 26 St., Vero Beach.

Admission: $9 per session; Parking: $8 for cars; $25 for buses.

Defending state champions – Class 8A: Miami Coral Reef; 7A: Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas; 6A: Lake City Columbia; 5A: Lake Wales; 4A: Miami Gulliver Prep; 3A: Delray American Heritage; 2A: St. Petersburg Canterbury; 1A: Bristol Liberty County.

Wednesday’s schedule – Class 4A semifinals: Pensacola West Florida 3, Miami Gulliver 0; Gainesville PK Yonge 12, Mulberry 0; Class 2A semifinals: Monticello Aucilla Christian 7, Boca Raton Grandview Prep 4; St. Petersburg Canterbury 15, Sarasota Christian 1; Class 8A semifinals: Oviedo Hagerty 5, Coral Reef 1; Valrico Bloomingdale 9, Cypress Bay 1; Class 6A semifinals: Pines Charter 5, St. Johns Creekside 3; Eagle Lake Lake Region 3, Tampa Chamberlain 1.

Thursday’s schedule – Class 4A final: West Florida vs. PK Yonge, 11:05 a.m.; Class 2A final: Canterbury vs. Aucilla Christian, 1:35; Class 8A final: Bloomingdale vs. Hagerty, 4:35; Class 6A final: 7:05.

Friday’s schedule – Class 1A semifinals: Chiefland vs. Sneads, 10:30 a.m.; Bell vs. Jay,11:45 a.m.; Class 3A semifinals: Westminster Christian vs. North Florida Christian, 1; Tampa Carrollwood vs. Moore Haven, 2:15; Class 7A semifinals: St. Thomas Aquinas vs. Cantonment Tate, 3:30; Melbourne vs. Harmony, 4:45; Class 5A semifinals: Plantation American Heritage vs. Ponte Vedra, 6; Belleview vs. Bradenton Bayshore, 7:15.

Saturday’s schedule – Class 1A final: 11:05 a.m.; Class 3A final: 1:35; Class 7A final:4:35; Class 5A final: 7:05.


a1fernandez@MiamiHerald.com

There was no questioning the courageous effort Cypress Bay senior Sarah Maloney put forth this season.

Dealing with an MCL injury since this past July, Maloney pitched through the pain throughout a campaign that culminated with a return trip to the state final four.

But Wednesday night’s developments at Historic Dodgertown were not the final chapter she or the Lightning hoped to write for her career.

A nightmarish third inning in which Maloney gave up a three-run home run led to an offensive onslaught that Cypress Bay could not overcome, eventually falling 9-1 to Valrico Bloomingdale in a Class 8A state semifinal.

“It’s obviously not the ideal way I wanted to end my career,” said Maloney, who will not play college softball. “But other than three bad innings, we played well and we kept playing hard until the end of the game.”

Jenna Beswick’s three-run blast put Bloomingdale ahead 5-1 after three innings.

Maloney stayed out of trouble for the next two frames, but Cypress Bay’s bats were unable to do much damage to Bloomingdale starter Lace Smith.

The Bulls (28-3) broke the game open with four more runs in the bottom half of the sixth as they totaled 11 hits. Beswick and Darby Bernaldo each had three RBI.

“We jumped out early and got on top, but [Bloomingdale] brought a lot of energy to the game and they played great,” Cypress Bay coach Lonny Shapiro said. “You don’t get here without quality talent and that’s true for both of these teams. It wasn’t our day.”

Cypress Bay (21-8), which was making its second consecutive appearance in the state final four, struck first with a run in the first inning driven in by Lily Pruneda.

But the Lightning couldn’t muster much more after that inning, striking out six times against Smith.

“Throughout the entire year, we saw a lot of pitchers who like to stay outside [off the plate],” Maloney said. “[Smith] kept coming inside and I think that threw us off.”

While frustrated with the performance, Maloney and her teammates took solace in what they accomplished as a team over the past couple of seasons at Cypress Bay.

“I can’t remember too many public schools in Broward that have made it to state back-to-back seasons,” Shapiro said. “It’s a testament to the seniors on what they’ve accomplished.”


CB 100 000 0 – 1 3 2

BL 104 004 x – 9 11 1

WP: Lace Smith. LP: Sarah Maloney.

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