Coral Springs Charter softball wins fifth consecutive title
This is how far the Coral Springs Charter softball program has come.
The school campus developed from the soil beneath the old Coral Springs Mall in 1998 when the school doors first opened.
In celebration of the school’s 20th anniversary, it was only fitting the Panthers tied Bartow High’s state record of five consecutive championships with a 7-2 victory over Marianna for the Class 5A title on Friday at Jackie Robinson Training Complex.
“We fought hard, and it’s been an interesting year to say the least,” said Coral Springs assistant coach Paul Gorlick, who was filling in for coach Mark Montimurro. “We did this for the girls and for Coach Mark. We knew he was watching. He gave a great game plan, and we followed to a T.”
Montimurro was forced to miss that state tournament after a mild heart attack earlier this week.
The clinching runs came in the bottom of the sixth inning, and it was time to celebrate another championship for the Panthers (29-1), who finished the season with a 28-game winning streak.
Jaydah Stroup had an RBI sacrifice bunt, Shannon Doherty scored on an error and Tatiana Juersen’s double drove in the Panthers’ final run.
Marianna added a consolation run in the bottom of the seventh.
The fifth title extended the Panthers’ playoff winning streak to 25 games. They are 31-9 in regional and state tournament games. in school history and have outscored opponents 25-7 over the five-year stretch.
Coral Springs Charter was held to three hits but took advantage of four Bulldogs errors.
Freshman Brianna Godfrey (15-0) was the starting pitcher for the Panthers with a solid performance and another strong supporting cast by her defense.
Godfrey gave up seven hits and struck out four for the complete-game victory. It was her fourth title in four years.
“There were a few innings where I didn’t do as well as I usually do,” Godfrey said. “My team backed me up the entire time and they’ve always had my back whether I was struggling or not.
“This means a lot for us winning this for Coach Mark. He does everything for the team.”
The Panthers won their first playoff game in 2005 under former coach Jim Hall. Then the first regional final appearance in 2013 in Montimurro’s third season. In 2015, Coral Springs Charter won its first state title and hasn’t had a playoff loss since.
“We just play Charter ball when we get up here,” said senior Lindsey Garcia, an Auburn signee who has also won five titles with Charter. “We stay true to ourselves and do everything it takes to win.
“A normal person doesn’t get to experience all this. It’s a surreal feeling that we’ve been able to do this.”
Marianna (27-2-1) struck first with a run in the top of the second inning when Lauren Brock’s RBI single scored Jade Hendrix.
Coral Springs Charter used small ball for three in in the bottom half of the inning.
Following a Cassidy Crump triple that scored Doherty to tie the score, the Panthers dropped three consecutive bunts to score two more runs. Kiara Miekle bunt single scored Crump. Luersen sacrifice bunt brought Miekle home for a 3-1 advantage.
The Panthers tacked on another run when Sara Berthiaume stole home after reached base on a bunt single.