High School Sports

Westminster Christian is back in state softball final

grichards@miamiherald.com

Westminster Christian Dani Amador celebrates and grabs Ally Mena (8) after she scoreed the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning as they defeat Trinity Christian at the FHSAA Semifinals in Vero Beach, FL, May 17, 2017.
Westminster Christian Dani Amador celebrates and grabs Ally Mena (8) after she scoreed the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning as they defeat Trinity Christian at the FHSAA Semifinals in Vero Beach, FL, May 17, 2017. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

Westminster Christian fought through injury and delay but is back in the state softball championship game.

The Warriors (26-6) beat Jacksonville’s Trinity Christian 3-2 on Wednesday night after scoring on an error with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning in a Class 4A state semifinal game at Dodgertown.

Westminster Christian plays for its fourth state title and first since 2014 on Thursday at 7:05 p.m.

“Before the inning started, I saw that we had the confidence in getting that thing done,” said coach Scott Doan, whose team is at Vero for the fourth consecutive year.

“We had the top of our lineup up and it all just worked out for us.”

The Warriors plated the winning run on a fielding error by Trinity’s first baseman; with one out and Ally Mena at third, Adriana Otero grounded to third but the throw was missed (the first baseman appeared to be watching Mena a little too closely) and Mena raced home with the win.

“I had faith in this team the entire time because we have worked these situations so many times before,” Mena said.

“Our coach is always putting us in pressure situations so, when we were in that moment, it didn’t feel too strenuous. I had no doubt we were going to win this game.”

SOFTBALL0518 SLIDE2 CTJ
Westminster Christian Ashley Castano, 4, lays on the field after she injured her leg sliding into home plate as they play Trinity Christian at the FHSAA Semifinals in Vero Beach, FL, May 17, 2017. CHARLES TRAINOR JR ctrainor@miamiherald.com

Westminster Christian took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning yet the rally all but ended when senior outfielder Ashley Castano appeared to suffer a broken leg trying to score from third.

Castano, a senior, was treated atop home plate by on-site medical staff before EMS arrived. Castano was transported to nearby Indian River Medical Center by ambulance.

Doan said after the game he had not heard an update on Castano’s injury.

Prior to that, Westminster scored twice on a bases-loaded double from Mena which brought home Nikkia Benetiz and Maddie Hefty.

Castano charged home from third on a grounder from Meghan Diaz.

In the top of the third, Trinity Christian tied the score on a single to right from Krystal Haynes with a fielding error allowing two to come home.

Pitcher Brooklyn Maguire was terrific throughout, only giving up three hits — two came in the third — and struck out six.

“I’m a little overwhelmed,” Maguire said. “We have been here a few times, so, I think this is our time right now. We have practiced so hard every day preparing for this. This is our year.”

The other Class 4A semifinal didn’t begin until 9:20 p.m. because of an earlier deluge which delayed the rest of the games by two hours.

So, the Warriors didn’t immediately know who their opponent would be.

After such a thrilling victory, they didn’t seem to be too worried about it.

“We won on that field over there,” Doan said, pointing, “in 2014 and had [Mena) and [Benetiz] on that team.

“We have been here the past four years and I think that helped us calm ourselves down.

“Yes, it’s the state tournament and this is a big game. But it’s not so big that it’s overwhelming. We knew what to expect, went out and did our thing. We had poise and kept themselves in check.”

FLAG FOOTBALL

▪ Class 2A Regional Final — Cooper City 38, Southridge 0: Cooper City won its first class 2A regionial title in a victory over Southridge on Tuesday night.

Caitlin Dunn threw 5 touchdown passes for the Cowboys (15-1). Katie Slinkosky and Sammie Stofsky both had two interceptions.

Cooper City will head to the state smeifinal at Citizens Field in Gainesville to face Seminole Ridge.

▪ Class 2A Regional Final — Seminole Ridge 26, Piper 0: Senior Emily Higgins passed for 201 yards and four touchdowns as host Seminole Ridge rolled to a 26-0 regional championship victory over Piper on Tuesday night.

The state’s third ranked team jumped out to a 20-0 halftime cushion as Higgins found senior Kristi Kemper on scoring tosses of 58, 10 and 14 yards. Kemper finished the night with seven receptions for 151 yards and added two punt returns totaling 55 yards.

Higgins connected with junior Ayanna Witshire on a 5-yard scoring toss with 1:09 remaining in the third period. Higgins has thrown for 47 TDs in her first year as a starting signal caller.

Seminole Ridge (16-0) will face Cooper City (15-1) in the state semifinal on Friday at 2:30 p.m. at Citizens Field in Gainesville. The Hawks are gunning for their sixth state championship in eight years and third in a row. Ridge won titles in 2010, 2012-2013, and the past two years.

Piper (14-2), which saw its 12-game winning streak end, played the game without its starting quarterback. Emily Townsend was rushed to the hospital earlier in the day. The team had her No. 13 jersey on the bench.

Piper was limited to 111 total yards and had three interceptions.

Gary Curreri

SIGNINGS

Mater Academy student athletes signed letters of intent on Wednesday afternoon.

Swimming: Julio Horrego, Florida State University. Volleyball: Rashell Rodriguez, Eastern University (PA). Football: Daniel Doriscar Sterling College, Kansas. Eric Demps, Sterling College, Kansas. Claudio Hernandez Concordia University Chicago, Illinois. Michael Sanchez, Concordia University Chicago, Illinois. Jarrel Knight Riverside City College, California.

THURSDAY’S SCHEDULE

SOFTBALL

Class 4A state final at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach: Westminster Christian vs. Oxbridge Academy-Academy of Holy Names winner, 7:05

FRIDAY’S SCHEDULE

SOFTBALL

Class 5A state semifinal at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach: Coral Springs Charter vs. Walton, 8:35 a.m.

Class 6A state semifinal at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach: American Heritage vs. Ponte Vedra, 11:05 a.m.

Class 8A state semifinal at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach: St. Thomas Aquinas vs. Orange Park Oakleaf, 4:05

Class 9A state semifinal at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach: Palmetto vs. Winter Garden West Orange, 6:35

SATURDAY’S SCHEDULE

SOFTBALL

Class 5A state final at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach: 10:05 a.m.

Class 6A state final at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach: 12:35

Class 8A state final at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach: 5:35

Class 9A state final at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach: 8:05

TUESDAY’S SCHEDULE

BASEBALL

Region 4-9A final at Coral Reef Park: Coral Gables vs. Coral Park, 4

Region 3-9A final: Jupiter at Douglas, 4

Region 4-8A final: St. Thomas Aquinas at Nova, 7

Region 4-7A final: Belen Jesuit at Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer, 7

Region 4-6A final: Melbourne Eau Gallie at Archbishop McCarthy, 7

Region 4-5A final: Pompano Beach at Monsignor Pace, 7

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