With one eye clearly on who they might play in the next round, the American girls’ softball team took care of the business it needed to first on Thursday afternoon.
That, after the Patriots put seven runs up in the first two innings in the midst of a 14-hit onslaught to easily dispatch South Broward 12-0 in a Region 4-7A quarterfinal game at American that ended after four-and-half innings due to the mercy rule.
The opponent the Patriots (17-7) have on their mind is defending state champion St. Thomas Aquinas, whom they will host on April 28 in a regional semifinal at 4 p.m.
“Even though we eventually pulled away, I wasn’t happy with the low energy level we came out with today, and we’ll need to be much sharper next week for sure,” American head coach Sergio Fernandez said. “We had a rough outing against them last year (Aquinas won 12-1 in the same round), so we’re definitely looking forward to the St. Thomas game. We have a lot of respect for their program and what they’ve accomplished and are looking forward to the opportunity to compete.”
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After scoring twice in the first, American opened things up with a five-run second thanks to five straight hits, and then reeled of six straight hits in the third that plated five more runs to complete the scoring.
Hitting .590 on the season, the Patriots were led by third baseman Kayleen Romero, who went two-for-three and 3 RBIs. Alexis Castroman, a St. Thomas University commitment, picked up the win on the mound with a two-hit shutout. South Broward finished 13-6.
▪ Region 4-7A quarterfinal — St. Thomas Aquinas 15, Reagan 0: St. Thomas Aquinas has plenty of challenges in its bid for a third consecutive state softball championship but didn’t find one Wednesday.
The Raiders made quick work of Ronald Reagan in a Region 4-7A quarterfinal, scoring eight runs before the first out was recorded in a 15-0 victory shortened to just four innings.
Aquinas (20-6) has won its past three games over Nova, South Broward and Reagan by a combined 46-0 but will find things tougher Tuesday when it travels to American for a regional semifinal.
“We swung the bats well,” Aquinas coach Bryan Baucom said. “We know it’s do-or-die time right now, and we want to keep going. It’s going to get tougher. It’s always hard to win on the road.”
The Raiders jumped all over Reagan (10-10) by scoring 11 runs off eight hits in the first inning.
With pitcher Brooke Stock retiring all but two of the 13 batters she faced, the Raiders didn’t need to score a whole lot.
Aquinas’ first run came on a double by Lauren Stella, with Sydney Barron making it 7-0 on a three-run home run to right.
The Raiders came into the third up 11-0 and scored three, coming up a run short (a runner was stranded at third) of ending it in three innings due to the 15-run mercy rule.
Aquinas got its run in the fourth, however, ending the game on an RBI double by Thais Gonzalez with no outs.
RR: 000-0 -- -- 0-1-5
STA: (11)03-1 -- --- 15-16-0
WP: Brooke Stock (8-1). LP: Melanie Isaza (10-9). STA 20-6, RR 10-10.
Region 3A Quarterfinal — Westminster Christian 15, SLAM Academy 0:
SC 0 0 0 X X X X — 0 1 2
WC 5 10 X X X X X — 15 14 0
WP: Brooklyn Maguire (10-3). Top Performers: Nikkia Benitez 3-3, 2 HR, 4 RBI. Ally Mena 3-3, HR, double, 3 RBI. Ashley Castano 2-2, RBI. WC 19-9.
Region 4-7A quarterfinal — Monarch 1, Royal Palm Beach 0: WP: Estroff (19-3). LP: Pino. Top Performers: Kiara Robin 2 H, GW RBI. Emily Estroff H, R. MON 24-3
Regional Suncoast 3, Archbishop McCarthy 0: WP:Allison Tilton CG, 0H, 14 K’s. LP: Briana Dimler (16-11), 6 IP, 6 K’s. Top Performers: Blaine Feinsinger 2 H, RBI.