Coral Reef’s softball team heads back to Vero Beach this week.
It has been a much bumpier journey this season than last year’s first state championship run.
But the Barracudas are still confident they have recaptured their winning ways at the right time.
Following a dramatic extra-inning win over West Broward this past Friday, Coral Reef will begin its bid to win back-to-back state titles for the first time in school history Wednesday afternoon when it takes on Oviedo Hagerty in a Class 8A state semifinal at Historic Dodgertown.
If the Barracudas (21-8) beat Hagerty, they could earn a rematch with Weston Cypress Bay — the team they beat for the state title last season — or face Valrico Bloomingdale in the final Thursday at 4:35 p.m.
Hagerty (27-4), a team with a roster of only two seniors and several sophomores and juniors, is making its first appearance in the state final four.
The Huskies did not face Coral Reef this season, but they beat Cypress Bay 12-4 in the Kissimmee Klassic in early April. They are led by junior pitcher Samantha Worrell, who enters the tournament with a 0.87 ERA.
Coral Reef’s lineup has finally been intact in the postseason after several injuries hampered the Barracudas.
Third baseman Carsyn Gordon saved Coral Reef from elimination with a clutch, two-out, two-strike double in the seventh against West Broward. First baseman Cassandra Garcia, who missed some time early in the season (finger injury), also had a key hit during the comeback.
But the biggest lift has been the return of second baseman Denver Keller from a broken hand. Keller is hitting .485 since coming back to the starting lineup.
Norland’s boys’ basketball team will honor three players headed to college. Guard Zachary McKnight will sign with Florida Gulf Coast, forward Tyrell Williams signed with Wyoming and guard Larry McKnight signed with Wofford.