Doral Academy’s softball team felt all season this could be its breakthrough year to get to the state final four.
The Firebirds are now one victory away.
Led by another stellar offensive output and pitching performance by Jennifer Acevedo, Doral routed Goleman 14-1 Tuesday night in a Region 4-6A semifinal at Slade Park.
The Firebirds (20-6), who had not won a regional playoff game prior to this season, will try to reach state for the first time when they play Pembroke Pines Charter Friday in the regional final at Silver Lakes Park South at 7 p.m. The Jaguars have reached the state championship game each of the past two seasons winning the title in 2012.
“We know it’s going to be a big challenge, but our girls have been working all season to earn this chance,” Doral coach Walter Acevedo said. “I think we’ll be ready to step up.”
Jennifer Acevedo pitched all five innings striking out six and did not allow an earned run. At the plate, she also excelled going 2 for 3 with a triple and two RBI.
The big hits came off the bat of Sydney Lageyre, however.
Lageyre went 3 for 4 with a home run and five RBI. Melody Grafals also went 2 for 3 with two RBI.
GOL 0 1 0 0 0 — 1-4-2
• Region 4-4A semifinal: Gulliver 12, St. Brendan 2: The Gulliver softball team took another step in its quest for five consecutive state championships by coasting to a 12-2 win over host St. Brendan in a Region 4-4A semifinal.
The Raiders (22-5) advance to the regional finals to face American Heritage Delray, which has won the Class 3A state title the last three seasons and was bumped up to 4A.
Pitcher Gabbee Draney settled in after allowing two runs on four hits in the first inning. She shut out the Sabres (15-7) from then on, allowing just one more hit and striking out seven in her complete game outing.
“I had to get comfortable on the mound. It took me a while to get comfortable, especially not playing on our field,” Draney said.
Coach Mark Schusterman added, “We came out a little sluggish, but we turned it on and did what we were supposed to do.”
At the plate, Draney went 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles, two RBI and three runs scored. Jessie Rivera went 3 for 4 with two doubles and three RBI, and Mia Bellinghieri went 2 for 2 with a sacrifice fly and three runs scored.
GU 2 1 1 3 0 2 3 — 12-14-1
SB 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 2-5-3
WP: Draney (18-4). LP: Deanna Delgado.
• Region 4-3A semifinal: Westminster Christian 1, Marathon 0: Kelli Kleis struck out 10 in a complete game shutout as Westminster Christian squeaked past Marathon 1-0 in a Region 4-3A semifinal at Palmetto Bay Park.
Westminster (25-3) advances to the same round that has sealed its fate each of the past three seasons. The Warriors will travel to Lake Worth Trinity Christian for a Friday night regional final.
Westminster scored in the first inning on an RBI infield hit by Ally Mena.
It turned out to be all the Warriors would need behind Kleis, who got out of jams involving a runner in scoring position and less than two outs four different times.
“We stayed calm and handled what we needed to handle,” Kleis said. “I threw a lot of fastballs compared to what I usually throw. I threw a lot of off-speed [pitches] to change it up.”
She retired the final seven batters she faced and ended the night by getting Marathon’s Becca Bucher to strike out looking.
Jordan Roney, starting pitcher for Marathon (13-12-1), stunned a potent Warrior lineup, holding it to one unearned run and four hits over six innings. She did not strike out a batter, but had fantastic defense behind her from shortstop Savanah Rodamer and center fielder Hannah Child.
MAR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0-4-1
WC 1 0 0 0 0 0 X — 1-4-1
WP: Kleis (20-2). LP: Roney.
• Region 4-2A semifinal: Colonial Christian 13, Princeton Christian 12: After sliding their way past Island Christian with a one point lead in district final against Island Christian the Patriots have now overcome Miami Christian and Princeton to head into the regional final against Boca Raton Grandview Prep.
Colonial pitcher Chloe Gate (10-1) shutout the Princeton girls for the first two innings but then the momentum changed. Colonial had a five run lead by the beginning of the third inning but the Panthers rallied with five runs in the third.
By the end of the sixth inning the Panthers held control with a a one point lead going into the seventh.
The win came despite the efforts of Colonial’s Alex Windley went 3-4,with a double and two RBI.
COL 2 3 2 0 3 1 2 — 13-6-2
PRI 0 0 5 2 4 0 1 — 12-13-8
WP: Chloe Gates (10-1). LP: Katie Wise (10-6).
Corey W. Campbell
• Region 4-7A semifinal: St. Thomas Aquinas 12, American 1: Gwen Svekis’ sweet swing swatted three home runs, including a mammoth shot over the left field fence in the 10-run third inning as St. Thomas Aquinas thrashed American in a Class 7A regional semifinal.
“That’s the biggest game I’ve ever had,” Svekis said. “Three home runs. That’s kind of unheard of. It was pretty incredible. It’s awesome because we were kind of struggling there for a little bit, but once we broke it open, the whole team picked it up.”
The smash was one of two home runs in the inning and the second of three two-run bombs in the game for Svekis.
The Raiders (29-2) dominated with Meghan King on the mound, holding the Patriots (19-8) to one hit and one unearned run while raking 12 hits.
“I’ve never seen anything like it in 20 years of coaching here,” Raiders coach Bryan Baucom said. “We hit the ball really well tonight as a team. We played good defensively and we pitched well.”
King (17-2) had eight strikeouts through 3 2/3 innings in the victory.
Svekis‘ first two-run shot came in the first inning, giving the Raiders a 2-0 edge. The Patriots lone hit came on a Chastity Velez double in the second inning. Velez moved to third on a sacrifice before scoring on a Raiders passed ball. King shut down the Patriots bats before Svekis snatched back momentum with her mortar to left field in the bottom of the third inning.
“The second one was close to being foul,” Svekis said. “That was one of the longest home runs I’ve ever hit in my life. Left field is the deepest part of our park and that thing cleared it by a mile.”
The Raiders racked up eight more runs in the inning, capped off by Svekis’ home run hat trick to pad the lead.
“It was a ball game until the big inning for them,” Patriots coach Sergio Fernandez said. “You have to tip your hat. We made some quality pitches on some of those home runs and they still hit it out. Gwen’s performance speaks for itself. You can’t miss, but even when you don’t miss, they still find a way to get the job done. I’m proud of my girls. They battled, but we ran up against a foe that is just remarkable.”