The stellar pitching of Kara Lokeinsky has been a major part of Cooper City’s successful softball season.
But to become a state champion this season, the Cowboys know they need to be more consistent at the plate.
Cooper City might have found the right formula this week as it secured its first Broward County Athletic Association Big 8 tournament championship. The Cowboys capped it with a 10-3 win over Douglas on Thursday night at Silver Lakes Park South in Pembroke Pines.
“This gives us a lot of confidence going into districts next week,” Cooper City’s Paige Grunfelder said.
Grunfelder and Grace Gonzalez each drove in runs during a nine-run bottom of the sixth inning that helped the Cowboys (18-5) come back and beat the Eagles.
More than anything, Cooper City was patient at the plate as Douglas pitcher Sami Feller struggled to find the edge she had shown during the first five innings. After Cooper City loaded the bases, Feller forced home three runs with walks. Reliever Cristina Granberry didn’t fare much better, walking in two more runs before Cooper City added two more runs on a double.
“We’ve been having trouble scoring runs so to have an inning like that is huge for us,” Grunfelder said.
Douglas (19-5), which beat defending Class 7A state champion St. Thomas Aquinas for the second time this season in Tuesday’s semifinal round, jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the third sparked by a two-run double by Kayla Boyle.
But Lokeinsky, who has more than 200 strikeouts this season and less than 10 walks, didn’t let Douglas put together any more serious scoring threats over the final four scoreless innings.
Cooper City enters a difficult District 12-8A tournament next week in which it will host South Plantation. Cypress Bay, a state final-four team each of the past two seasons, hosts Western in the other semifinal Tuesday at Cooper City.
“Sometimes it will take us a little bit to adjust and adapt to the game,” Cooper City coach Phil Schmalz said. “We weren’t approaching our at-bats the way we wanted to. A lot of it was pitch selection. It was like in the sixth inning, everybody said they had enough.”
DOU 003 000 0 – 3
CC 100 009 x – 10
WP: Kara Lokeinsky (16-4). LP: Sami Feller (10-5).