Husk, Kleis sisters propel Westminster Christian to state softball title game
05/10/2014 12:00 AM
05/10/2014 12:03 AM
Westminster Christian hadn’t given up a single run in three regional victories. Even through Tallahassee’s North Florida Christian scored in the first inning Friday, the Warriors certainly weren’t rattled.
Far from it, in fact.
Westminster Christian bounced back in a big way, scoring four in the top of the second inning en route to a 4-2 victory in a Class 4A state semifinal game at the Dodgertown complex.
The Warriors (27-3) face Moore Haven Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the state title game.
Westminster Christian is considered a heavy favorite to win its third championship and first since winning the Class 2A crown in 2009. Moore Haven (17-4) survived a wild semifinal, ousting Tampa’s Carrollwood Day 15-10 in 10 innings.
Three players — including offensive star Brittany Husk — played on Westminster’s previous title team as seventh graders and have a shot at a second.
“We were really seeing the ball,’’ said Husk, who was a home run away from hitting for the cycle. Husk was 4-for-4 with two triples, a double and two RBI.
“I was really confident the whole game and was never worried. Once we got those runs in the second, I knew we had it. This is it for us. We have eight seniors and we’re going to give it our all.’’
It looked as if the Warriors squandered a great opportunity in the top of the first inning as Husk led off with a double and moved to third on an infield single by Kaitlyn Musa (one of the three who played in 2009 along with Caitlin Charlton).
With one out the Warriors had bases loaded, yet North Florida starter Lindsey Bert struck out the next two to get out of the jam.
Westminster Christian didn’t score, yet the Eagles — who end their season 19-4 — picked up one in the bottom of the frame to take a lead into the second.
North Florida Christian’s lead would be short lived.
“We’ve been hitting the ball real well and I knew we were on it,’’ Westminster coach Scott Doan said.
“We didn’t score at first, but I knew given enough time we were going to get some. I wasn’t really panicked about it because I’ve seen what they can do all year long.”
In the top of the second, the Warriors came right back at Bert (19-4). This time they put some runs across.
With runners on and one out, Husk tripled then came home on an errant throw. Pitcher Kelli Kleis then tripled with two outs and scored on a double from Charlton.
“To have the opportunity to win it as a seventh grader, and I’m just in awe to be back as a senior,” Charlton said. “I can’t wait to play Saturday.”
Up 4-1, the Warriors would only be challenged a few times en route to a berth in Saturday’s title game.
In the fourth, NFC scored its second run on an infield single to second as Jackie Lee Wells took off and never slowed down circling third.
In the sixth, Bert led off with a single down the left field line and looked to stretch it into a double. Outfielder Kristin Guthery fielded the ball perfectly and came up throwing, her strike beating Bert by three steps.
Senior pitcher Kelly Kleis (23-2) put the Warriors down in order after that.
“I felt comfortable knowing I have a great defense and a great offense,’’ Kleis said. “Having four runs sure made things a lot more comfortable.’’
WC 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 — 4 9 1
NFC 1 0 0 1 0 0 0— 2 5 3
WP: Kelli Kleis (23-2). LP: Lindsey Bert (19-4). WC 27-3. NFC 19-4.