The third time was a charm for the Pembroke Pines Charter softball team.
A strong outing by junior pitcher Eliza Gonzalez and a fantastic catch by senior left fielder Alexandra Good helped the Jaguars defeat Niceville 4-1 for the Class 7A title at Historic Dodgertown on Thursday.
It was the third title for the school after winning in 2012 and 2014. The Jaguars (26-5) championship also gave Broward County its third title at this year’s championships, tying the county record set in 2014.
“This feels pretty good and special,” said Pines Charter coach Tom Fadul. “I’m very proud for the girls’. They worked hard all season and they’ve been working for this for six months.”
Holding a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh the Eagles were threatening with a runner at second and one out.
Blake Eslinger hit a deep fly ball to left with extra bases written all over it. To the rescue was Good made a running snowball catch along the left field fence for the second out.
“I felt that catch was the best catch of my life,” Good said. “It came in clutch when we needed it, and I’m glad I could help out my pitcher and stop a run from scoring.”
Said Fadul, “We were trying to move Good over because we were going with an inside pitch. They hit the ball where we moved her from, but she made the great catch."
Good gave the Jaguars a first inning 1-0 lead with an RBI double that scored Erika Andal. The Jaguars would never trail.
They added a pair of runs in the second inning and an addition insurance run in the fifth despite managing only three hits.
Niceville’s bats were silenced by Gonzalez’s day on the mound. She tossed a five-hitter, but more importantly yielded one earned run, while striking out eight.
“My game plan was to keep the ball low and out,” Gonzalez said. “The umpire was giving me that low and outside pitch, so I went with it.
"We said it from the beginning we were out to get a ring and we got it.”
Niceville (23-8) got its lone run in the bottom of the fifth inning on back-to-back doubles by Eslinger and Riley Gibson.
Pine Charter had added a run in the top of the inning for a 4-0 lead with an RBI single from Andal that scored Chole Freire from second.