Coming off a shoulder injury at a tournament in Kissimmee last week, Cooper City coach Phil Schmalz wasn’t sure what he might get out of star freshman pitcher Kara Lokeinsky.
But less than two hours after his Cowboys took the field against Pines Charter in a BCAA Big 8 Softball semifinal at Silver Lakes Park in Pembroke Pines, Schmalz had his answer.
Even though she started to run out of gas at the end, Lokeinsky had enough left to finish a complete-game, 12-strikeout performance in a 4-0 victory over Pines Charter.
The win puts Cooper City (18-4) in the BCAA championship game at 6:30 p.m. Friday against former district rival St. Thomas Aquinas, which beat Douglas 10-0 via mercy rule in the other semifinal.
“It was a great feeling [Wednesday] because I came in off a bad injury to my shoulder in Kissimmee, so coming in here and shutting them down showed that I could come back from being hurt,” Lokeinsky said. “I pulled a muscle in my biceps and the arm swelled but it felt OK coming into [Wednesday]. My curveball was the pitch that was really working. It seemed like they just couldn’t catch up to it and they would swing way after it was past them.”
Lokeinsky started out the game like she might set some kind of county record as her first 10 possible outs were all strikeouts. By the fifth inning, Pines Charter bats had caught up with her, and the Jaguars (15-6-1) wound up with six hits overall, including a pair of two-out singles in the last inning. Only a diving catch of a line drive by shortstop Megan Isoba with two runners on to end the game preserved Lokeinsky’s shutout.
“She was going to go regardless [Wednesday] but with the shoulder issue in Kissimmee, I needed to make sure I protected her a little bit and not overthrow her,” Schmalz said.
The Cowboys got their freshman pitcher the only run she needed in the third inning. After Grace Gonzalez rifled a one-out double to right-center and advanced to third on a groundout, she came home when Lindsey Olivares blooped a single just over second base.
Cooper City then got three big insurance runs for Lokeinsky in the sixth on an RBI single by Paige Grunfelder, an RBI groundout by Felicia Ianniello and a two-out, pinch-hit RBI single from Lindsay Gehring.
“They’ll need no motivation for Aquinas, that’s for sure,” Schmalz said. “We’ve played them so many times over the past few years, and it’s always a great game and I’m sure it will be again Friday.”
PC 000 000 0 – 0 6 2
CC 001 003 X – 4 6 1
WP: Lokeinsky 14-2 5-1. LP: Blount 11-6. Top performers: PC – Grassy Gomez 2-for-4; CC – Lindsey Olivares 2-for-3, RBI, Paige Grunfelder 2-for-2, RBI, Lindsay Gehring 1-for-1, RBI• St. Thomas Aquinas 10, Douglas 0: Maryland-bound pitcher Meghan King was dominant from the start, allowing just one hit and striking out nine as St. Thomas Aquinas rolled to an easy five-inning, mercy-rule win over Douglas in a BCAA semifinal.
The Raiders (22-2) rocked Douglas for 16 hits, including a 3-for-3, two-RBI game from Katie Behm.
The only bad news for Aquinas coach Bryan Baucom is that prom night for the school is Friday night, and the fact that eight of his starters are seniors will mean the Raiders probably will play short-handed.
DOUG 000 00 – 0 1 1
STA 051 4X – 10 16 1
WP: King 14-2. Top Performers: Behm 3-for-3, 2 RBI, Healey 2-for-3, 2B, HR, 2 RBI