Westminster obliterates Moore Haven for state title
05/11/2014 12:01 AM
06/21/2014 11:25 AM
Westminster Christian's performance in the Class 3A state title game was so complete and so thorough, officials began setting up the postgame awards table in the fourth inning.
The game wouldn't last much longer.
The Warriors disposed of Moore Haven to claim the 3A crown with a convincing 12-0 victory at Dodgertown. The game was called after Moore Haven took its swings in the fifth inning because of the 10-run mercy rule.
The championship was the third in program history and first since winning the 2A title in 2009. Three players who were instrumental in Saturday's win — Brittany Husk, Kaitlyne Musa and Caitlin Charlton — played on Westminster's previous championship team as seventh graders.
The Warriors end the season 28-3 and finish riding a 25-game winning streak. Westminster Christian's last loss came at a tournament in Panama City on Feb. 21.
"This is the greatest feeling,'' said Husk, who went 8-for-8 in Westminster's two wins at the state tournament. "When we won in seventh grade, you didn't really know what it all meant. This is my last year, so to win it, is a great feeling.''
Added Charlton: "From the beginning of the season I knew we would get back here. This game, I knew we would have it when it was over. We came out fired up with one goal in mind. And we got it.''
Husk was, as she has been all year, unstoppable in Vero Beach and made the Terriers pay for pitching to her.
The senior, who is headed to Villanova in the fall, opened things up with a single and scored Westminter's first run on a grounder from pitcher Kelli Kleis.
In the second, Husk came up with first base open. Starter Jaqueline Phares didn't give Husk much, but she got enough, and smacked a pitch up the middle to score another run. Moore Haven would kick the ball around the infield a few times, allowing Westminster to pick up a few easy runs.
Husk's biggest hit came in the third when she cleared the bases with a triple. Husk raced home when the Moore Haven second baseman bobbled the relay in to make it 8-0.
On Saturday, Husk went 4-for-4 after going 4-for-4 with two triples and a double in Friday's semifinal win. According to coach Scott Doan, Husk had 107 at-bats this season. She didn't strike out once.
"I was really seeing the ball this weekend,'' Husk said. "I knew these would be my last two games so I gave it my all. I just went out there and played the way I always do.''
Westminster Christian ended up scoring seven runs in the third inning as Doan was able to empty his bench as the mercy rule came into play.
The Warriors added a run in the fourth and didn't bat in the fifth.
"We felt if we came and played our game we would be fine,'' said Doan, who coached the Warriors to the Class 3A girls' volleyball title in the fall.
"You never know in a state championship though. You can't take anything for granted or act like someone owes you something. You have to earn it and we did. We put the bat on the ball, got them three up, three down. This is a very veteran team. We put runs up and put the pressure on them.''
Aside from Westminster Christian doing whatever it wanted at the plate, Moore Haven had no answer for Kleis.
Moore Haven got its first hit of the day in the third and put a runner in scoring position with two outs.
The Terriers' rally was short lived, however, as Olivia Everett grounded out to second to end things as the Warriors came into the third up 4-0.
Kleis (23-2) gave up two hits — including one through the infield with two outs in the fourth — and struck out nine in the title game. Kleis began the celebration with a strikeout as she put the Terriers down in order in the fifth.
"I felt focused the entire game,'' Kleis said. "I would have been happy to go seven innings and get the win but we had the offense really backing me up. I felt really comfortable out there.''
MH -- 000 -- 00 -- -- 0 -- 2 -- 5
WC -- 137 -- 1x -- -- 12 -- 15 -- 1
WP: Kelli Kleis (23-2); LP: Jaqueline Phares (9-4). Records: WC 28-3; MH 17-5.
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