Aquinas, Florida Christian win softball titles at SlamFest

03/16/2014 12:02 AM

03/16/2014 12:03 AM

For two decades the annual SlamFest tournament has been a good midseason barometer for South Florida’s top softball teams.

St. Thomas Aquinas demonstrated why it entered this year’s tournament ranked among the best teams in the nation.

Led by a solid pitching performance by senior Meghan King, the Raiders defeated Palm Beach Gardens 8-2 to secure the Grey bracket championship of the Pinecrest Physical Therapy South Florida SlamFest Saturday at Palmetto Bay Park.

Aquinas (14-0), ranked No. 9 nationally by MaxPreps, also defeated fellow Broward County powerhouse Plantation American Heritage 2-1 in the semifinals and won its first SlamFest title since 2003.

“These are quality programs to play against and these games always get you battle-tested for the regional [playoff] games down the stretch,” said Aquinas coach Bryan Baucom, whose team won the Class 7A state championship last season. “We have a good core of kids that can step up and start anywhere.”

King struck out 11 allowing only two unearned runs in a complete game victory.

King also showed some toughness in the sixth inning shaking off a grounder that hit her on her left shin. King took a couple of moments to walk it off and came back to finish another scoreless inning.

“This was finally our strongest competition and it was good to see what this team can do against it,” King said.

Senior Gwen Svekis delivered a go-ahead two-run single and seniors Tayler Hishon and Rachel Collins each drove in two runs as well.

“A lot of different players stepped up,” Svekis said. “We’ve had some games against slow pitching, but against [Palm Beach Gardens] and [Heritage], it was great to see some of our younger players play well.”

PATRIOTS IMPROVING

Led by tournament MVP Monica Marquez, who hit three home runs over four games, Florida Christian claimed the championship of the White bracket of the Pinecrest SlamFest.

Florida Christian rallied from an early one-run deficit to beat Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna 5-1 in the finals behind another solid pitching performance from freshman Faith Vazquez.

Junior shortstop Brianna Ernst went 3 for 4 with a double, junior Addy Garcia went 2 for 3 with an RBI and junior Karli Smith went 1 for 3 with an RBI to lead the Patriots (11-2).

Florida Christian also defeated Southridge, Coral Gables and TERRA in the tournament.

“The kids have learned to battle in close games,” Florida Christian coach Scott Stemmer said. “We’ve been behind in a few, but we’ve found a way to battle back to win a lot of them so far.”

Marquez went 6 for 12 with nine RBI for the tournament. Ernst made a key throw to the plate to retire a Lions’ runner and preserve a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth inning.

Vazquez did the rest to improve to 5-1 for the season. Smith, the Patriots’ other starting pitcher, also has a 5-1 record.

It was Florida Christian’s first tournament victory at the SlamFest since winning the Grey bracket in 2010.

Cooper City reached the finals of the Blue bracket with a 5-1 victory over Oakleaf in the semifinals, but were defeated by Ponte Vedra in the championship.

• St. Thomas Aquinas 8, Palm Beach Gardens 2:

STA 002 033 0 – 8 10 2

PBG 000 200 0 – 2 3 3

WP: Meghan King (8-0).

• Florida Christian 5. Chaminade Madonna 1:

CM 0 1 0 0 0 0 0—1 4 4

FC 0 0 0 2 2 1 — 5 8 0

WP: Faith Vazquez (5-1). Top Performers: Brianna Ernst 3-4, 2 B. Addy Garcia 2-3, RBI. Karli Smith 1-3, RBI. FCS 11-2.

• Florida Christian 9, Southridge 2:

SR 0 0 0 0 0 1 1— 2 5 5

FC 2 0 1 1 0 5— 9 9 2

WP: Karli Smith (5-1). Top Performers: Shanon Renouf 3-4, RBI. Faith Vazquez 2-3, 3 B, 2 B. Monica Marquez 1-4, HR. FCS 9-2.

• Braddock 4, TERRA 0:

BRA 2 0 1 0 0 1 — 4 7 3

TER 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 4 0

WP: Ginyer Morales (4-5). Top Performers: Jeneese Santana 2-3, double. Alyssa Flores 2-3, triple, 3 RBI.

• South Dade 8, Coral Gables 5:

CG 2 0 3 0 0 0 0 — 5

SD 0 1 4 2 1 0 — 8

WP: Christina Bramblett 7 IP, 5Ks. LP: L. Perna. Top Performers: Shelby Herbert 1-2, 2R, RBI. Zaria Hall 2-4, 2R. Tabi Rodriguez 3-4, 4 RBI. Christina Bramblett: 2-3.

• South Dade 7, West Broward 0:

SD 0 1 0 2 1 0 3 — 7

WB 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0

WP: Coco Atkins. LP: V. Churgina. Top Performers: Thea Ramirez 2-4, 2B. Savannah Roher 1-2, 2B. Zaria Hall 1-3, 3 runs.

• Chaminade Madonna 4, St. Brendan 2:

CM 1 2 0 0 1 0 0 — 4 6 2

SB 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 X — 2 5 3

WP: McCabe (13-1) 1 ER, 9 K’s. Top Performers: Jackie Yao 2-3, run, 3 SB. Megan Sorg 3-4, run, RBI, 3 SB. CM 14-3. SB 10-4.

• Late Thursday—Chaminade Madonna 6, Southwest 2:

SW 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 — 2 7 3

CM 1 0 0 0 3 2 — 6 11 2

WP: McCabe (11-1) 7 K's. LP: Suarez (10-3). Top Performers: Jackie Yao 2 runs, 3-4, 2B, 3 SB. Megan Sorg 3-3, BB, 3 runs. CM 14-3. SW 10-3.

• Late Thursday—Chaminade Madonna 7, South Dade 1:

SD 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 1 7 3

CM 0 1 1 3 0 2 0— 7 10 4

WP: McCabe (12-1) 10 K's. LP: Christina. Top Performers: Dana DeFalco 4-4, 2B, 3 RBI. Jackie Yao 2-3, run. CM 15-3. SD 9-5.

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