Coral Springs Charter knew what a major obstacle a trip to Gulliver meant to its state championship hopes.
After two innings Friday, the Panthers were in total control and eventually punched their first ticket to state with a 4-1 win over the host Raiders in the Region 4-4A final at Gulliver Prep.
“Any time you can come down to Gulliver and end up on the winning side you have to feel good about your team,” Coral Springs Charter coach Mark Montimurro said. “You don’t go undefeated on the field by accident. What these girls have done this season has been nothing short of phenomenal.”
The Panthers (27-0-1) will play Fort Pierce Lincoln Park Friday in a Class 4A state semifinal at Dodgertown in Vero Beach. The loss snapped Gulliver’s five-year streak of advancing to the state final four.
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“They really came out ready to play and they weren’t intimidated being on the road,” Gulliver coach Mark Schusterman said. “It certain spots today you could see our youth, but we’ll be back.”
Charter put up three runs in the first on an RBI ground out by Lindsey Garcia and run-scoring singles by Ally Muraskin and Barbara Vega. Skylar Fairchild drove in another run in the second with a triple.
That was more than enough for Muraskin, Charter’s sophomore ace, who struck out 13 and threw a one-hitter.
“This is so exciting because I’ve never been to state,” Muraskin said. “Whenever my team puts three on the board it makes me feel less worried about the game. I knew we had enough and I knew if I just shut them down we’d win this game.”
▪ Coral Springs Charter 4, Gulliver 1
CSC: 310-000-0 -- -- 4-5-0
Gul: 000-000-1 -- -- 1-1-2
WP: Ally Muraskin (24-0). LP: Mikayla Frazier.
▪ Coral Reef 11, Flanagan 1: The Barracudas trailed in the fifth inning and were seven outs away from having their season ended. It was soon over as Coral Reef scored 10 runs off 11 hits in the sixth to finish the Falcons off early thanks tot he mercy rule.
Coral Reef (22-4-1) heads to the state semifinals for the third straight year.
Flanagan scored its only run in the fourth on an error by Coral Reef shortstop Kylie Becker, who fielded a grounder but could not get the ball out of her glove. In the fifth, Becker atoned with an RBI triple to right.
“I was angry,” Becker said of the error. “I said to myself: ‘We’re not losing this with me’.”
Carsyn Gordon, a Florida State recruit, got two hits in the big sixth inning, starting and ending the rally. Gordon led off the sixth with a single and a steal, coming around to score on a two-run double off the left-field fence by Michelle Ryan, whose big blow missed being a home run by about a foot.
Flanagan still hadn’t recorded an out when Gordon scored her second run of the inning, ending the game in surprising fashion.
“We didn’t like what we were seeing early on – their pitching had us off balance,” Coral Reef coach Dario Rodriguez said of Flanagan. “But they woke up a sleeping giant in the sixth. We have six seniors, and this was their last game at home. We flipped a switch.”
The win went to starting pitcher Michelle Mesa, one of those six seniors.
“I was not scared at all,” Mesa said of Coral Reef’s fifth-inning deficit. “We have a great team, and I knew we would buckle down.”
▪ Stoneman Douglas 3, Park Vista 1: Sami Feller allowed one hit — a solo home run — as the host Eagles earned their first trip to the state final four in the school’s 25-year history.
Douglas (25-6) will face Coral Reef game in a state semifinal Friday at Dodgertown in Vero Beach.
Douglas opened the scoring in the first against the Cobras (20-7) when Jessica England singled to lead off then scored on a Kayla Boyle single.
Park Vista's Venessa Rubio tied the score with her home run in the fourth but Douglas answered on Jackie McKenna's RBI single with two outs. Douglas added another in the fifth on Katie Peterson RBI single for the two-run advantage.
PV: 000-100-0 -- -- 1-1-0
Doug: 100-110-x -- -- 3-11-0
WP: Sami Feller (15-5); LP: Jaime Scher (12-3). Doug 25-6, PV 20-7.
▪ St. Thomas Aquinas 10, West Boca 0: For the first time this postseason, the Raiders faced a little adversity. It didn't last long.
Up 1-0, Aquinas committed two errors in the second inning and West Boca had two in scoring position. The Bulls failed to push a run across, however, and it cost them.
In the bottom of the second, Thais Gonzalez cleared the bases with a double off the outfield wall that gave Aquinas a 4-0 lead and all but punched its ticket to the state finals for the third straight year.
The Raiders (22-6) are the two-time defending Class 7A champions. West Boca ends its season 24-6.
"I should hit the weight room and maybe I would have put it over,'' said Gonzalez, one of just two starters who returned from last year's team. "[Pitcher] Brooke [Stock] did a great job on the mound, really shut them down. She's become a real leader on this team. We were able to keep things rolling.''
Aquinas coach Bryan Baucom has seen his team lose big leads in the regional finals before and left nothing to chance Friday. The Raiders remained aggressive on the bases (West Boca helped by walking seven and making three errors) and piling up the runs.
The Raiders now head to Vero Beach on an incredible tear, mercy ruling their past five opponents while outscoring them 72-0 in the process.
"I couldn't be happier for this team and it's so great to go back for a third straight year,'' said Baucom, who has four state titles in his 21 seasons as coach. "We lost seven starters so to go back with a whole new team really shows how hard they've worked.''
The Raiders had a vocal cheering section in the early innings as the Aquinas football team -- about 200 strong -- took a break from spring practice and crowded along the fence and around the outfield wall.
"I thought it was great,'' said Baucom, a longtime Aquinas football assistant coach. "It's a sight we haven't seen in 21 years. The girls really liked it.''
WB: 000-00 -- -- 0-1-3
STA: 130-51 -- -- 10-9-3
WP: Brooke Stock (11-1); LP: Jordyn Lyman (16-3). STA 22-6, WB 24-6.
▪ American Heritage 2, Mount Dora 0: Jenna Goodrich, a Georgia Tech-bound senior pitching her last game on her home field, struck out 13, walked just two and gave up two hits to lead the Patriots (24-1-1) back to the state semifinals.
“I don’t need a lot of runs because I know I have some great defense behind me and I never felt that uncomfortable,” Goodrich said. “It was a big night for me because I’m a senior and this was my last game on this field at this school tonight. It was an honor to be a part of all this. I love this school, this team and all of these players. Now we want to bring one more state title home and close this thing out.”
The Patriots managed just five hits off Mount Dora pitcher Kyra Gipson but the biggest one of the night came from Maya Rodriguez in the second. With Dakota Cassidy on first after reaching on an error, Rodriguez launched an inside fastball from Gipson high over the left field fence for a two-run homer that proved to be all the offense Goodrich would need.
“[Gipson] gave me a good inside pitch and I just turned on it and caught it good,” Rodriguez said. “It felt good to come through for my team.”
MD: 000-000-0 -- -- 0-2-3
AH: 020-000-x -- -- 2-5-0
WP: Jenna Goodrich LP: Kyra Gipson
▪ Westminster Christian 10, Lake Worth Trinity Christian 0 (5): Despite graduating seven players from last season, the Warriors (21-9) earned the chance to defend its state championship. Victoria Perez and Brooklyn Maguire threw a combined one-hitter and Aly Mena went 3-for-4 with two RBI to lead Westminster Christian, which scored all 10 of its runs in the third through fifth innings. Mena ended it with an RBI single in the fifth.
Ashley Castano went 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI and Nikia Benitez went 2 for 3 with three runs scored. Madison Precht went 2 for 2 with an RBI and three runs scored. Perez struck out six and allowed a hit while Maguire pitched one inning and struck out two.
ANDRE C. FERNANDEZ
TC: 000-00 -- -- 0-1-3
WC: 002-35 -- -- 10-10-1
WP: Victoria Perez (11-6).
▪ Boca Grandview 17, Colonial Christian 1 (4): After a close first inning, it was all Grandview Prep as they moved onto the state final four.
The Patriots (14-2) scored when Ana Long came home following an error. After being tied going into the second, Grandview (14-5) poured it on and outscored Colonial 16-0.
Last year Grandview defeated Colonial 21-0 in the regional final.
GP: 145-7 -- -- 17-18-3
ColC: 100-0 -- -- 1-3-3
WP: Caitlin Ralston (13-4). LP: Chloé Gates (14-2).
At Dodgertown Complex, Vero Beach
▪ Class 8A: Coral Reef v. Stoneman Douglas, Friday TBA
▪ Class 7A: St. Thomas Aquinas v. Sarasota, Wednesday TBA
▪ Class 5A: American Heritage v. Boca Ciega, Wednesday TBA
▪ Class 4A: Coral Springs Charter v. Fort Pierce Lincoln Park, Friday TBA
▪ Class 3A: Westminster Christian v. Moore Haven, Wednesday TBA
MONDAY’S REGIONAL FINAL
▪ 4-6A: Doral Academy at Stuart South Fork, 6:30