Coral Reef knew that maintaining its place among Miami-Dade County’s softball elite would not be easy this season.
Coming off three consecutive trips to state including one state championship, the Barracudas returned only four seniors and two starters.
Coral Reef knew it would have to scratch and claw its way to victories, much as it did Wednesday night at Palmetto Bay Park when it rallied three times to beat Southwest 11-9 in a Region 4-9A quarterfinal.
The Barracudas (14-11) scored four runs in the top of the sixth inning and after giving up four to the Eagles in the bottom half scored three more in the seventh to secure the victory.
“It was tough because it took us some time to get our rhythm,” catcher Carolina Colli said. “We’ve been up and down the whole year, but it was great being able to come back and I feel like when we’re up and going strong we can go really far.”
The Barracudas will face district rival Palmetto, which dominated Lourdes earlier in the day in another quarterfinal, on Tuesday at 7 pm at Palmetto Bay Park.
Palmetto has beaten Coral Reef in all three meetings this season, following a three-year run in which Reef beat Palmetto 15 consecutive times.
“After losing all the players we did and struggling to find our way, now they are playing great ball and doing whatever they have to do to get wins,” Coral Reef coach Dario Rodriguez said. “I’m really proud of these kids.”
Coral Reef protected the lead in the bottom of the seventh with good defense as pitcher Janelle Boyd, first baseman Michelle Ryan and Colli combined for a game-ending 1-3-2 double play.
Boyd opened the game with a two-run home run, tripled home a run in the second and pitched four relief innings.
Trailing 5-4 in the sixth, Colli tied the score with a double. Kat Boix drove in another run with a single and came around to score on a wild pitch.
Carolina Silverio, who had three doubles for Southwest, propelled the Eagles during their four-run sixth that gave them a 9-8 lead heading to the seventh.
But Amanda Grullon led off the seventh with a double down the left field line and came around to score the tying run on an error. Colli’s sacrifice fly ball gave Reef the lead for good.
CR 201 104 3 — 11
SW 004 014 0 — 9
MORFE SOFTBALL QUARTERFINALS
▪ Region 4-6A Quarterfinal — Archbishop McCarthy 10, Miami Springs 0: Led by Liz Vasquez and Noel Hartung, the Mavericks made quick work of Miami Springs on Wednesday night as they used less than 90 minutes to dispatch the Golden Hawks in a five-inning, mercy-rule victory at Virginia Gardens Field.
Vasquez blasted a two-run homer in the top of the first to stake McCarthy (9-8) to a quick 2-0 lead and finished off a 3-for-3 night with a two-out, two run double to left in the top of the fifth to put her team up by 10. Hartung was on the mound and faced just one batter over the minimum (16) as Brianna Gomez’s base hit in the last of the fourth broke up a her perfect game as she settled for a one-hitter.
McCarthy will travel to take on district rival Plantation American Heritage next Tuesday in a regional semifinal.
▪ Region 4-5A Quarterfinals — Coral Gables 15, Krop 9: WP: Emma Cavo (6-4), 3-4, double, 3 RBI. Natalie Regalado 3-3, 2B, 2 RBI, SB, 2 R. Victoria Garcia 2-2, 2 RBI, 3 R. Tatiana Campos 3-4, RBI, R, SB. CG 14-9. KR 11-6.
▪ Region 4-9A Quarterfinals — Palmetto 13, Lourdes 3: Daijaa Williams (10-1). Hannah Burge 4-4, 2B, 2 R. Carly Herskowitz 2-3, 3B, 2 R, 3 RBI. Alyssa Vincent 2-3, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. Lauren Margolis 2-4, 3B, R, 2 RBI. PAL 23-4.
▪ Region 2-5A Quarterfinals — Pace 5, Key West 4: Sofia Dominguez 6 K’s, CG, 3-4, 2B, R. Monica Marquez 3-4, 2B, 2 R. Natalie Rodriguez 4-4. MP 19-7.
▪ Region 4-7A Quarterfinals — Doral Academy 16, South Broward 1: Amanda Aragon 3IP, R, 6 K’s, 2H. Sydney Lageyre 2-2, HR, 5 RBI. Ashley Jarquin 1-2, HR, 2 RBI. Gabriela Ruiz 2-2, 2HR, 3 RBI. Ashley Venegas 1-1, HR, 2 RBI. Kaitlyn Perez 2-2, R
▪ Region 4-5A Quarterfinals — Coral Springs Charter 12, Clewiston 0.
▪ Region 4-9A Quarterfinals — American 15, South Miami 0.
▪ Region 4-5A Quarterfinals — Gulliver 15, Mater Lakes 0.
▪ Region 4-8A Quarterfinals — Cooper City 15, Reagan 0.
▪ Region 4-6A Quarterfinals — American Heritage 15, Goleman 0.
▪ Region 3-9A Quarterfinals — Monarch 6, Miramar 0.
▪ Region 4-8A Quarterfinals — St. Thomas Aquinas 10, Coral Glades 0.