Miami-Dade High Schools

Coral Gables softball’s best season ends with a shutout in the state semifinals

The Gables Kylie Santana (4) is late on the tag as Newsome’s Bailee Leistl (21) is called safe at second base as Coral Gables High plays Newsome girls softball in Class 9A state semifinals at Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach on Thursday, May 23, 2019.
The Gables Kylie Santana (4) is late on the tag as Newsome’s Bailee Leistl (21) is called safe at second base as Coral Gables High plays Newsome girls softball in Class 9A state semifinals at Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach on Thursday, May 23, 2019. ALDIAZ

This was more than just wins and losses for the Coral Gables softball team.

It was about making progress for a softball program that was among the lower tier teams in Miami-Dade County.

They made school history Thursday playing in their first state softball semifinal against Newsome at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex.

Though the Cavaliers lost 13-0 in the Class 9A semifinal, there’s promise going forward.

The 13-run loss was the worst this season eclipsing the 13-2 setback to Westminster Christian on April 11.

The Cavaliers were held to two hits and struck out 11 times. Newsome finished with 15 hits.

Newsome (23-4) will face Park Vista, a 4-0 winner over Apopka, in Friday’s state championship game at 8:05 p.m.

Getting to this point has been a process for the Cavaliers.

“I had five returning seniors on the team this year that I’ve had for four years,” said Coral Gables coach Natalie de la Vega. “They have been groomed over a four-year period.”

Prior to this season, Coral Gables had never won more than two regional games in the same season. The last time they won two was 2012 before losing in the regional final to Miami Palmetto 4-1.

Last year the Cavaliers (17-11) had a hard loss to Coral Reef in the regionals and got a second chance against them in this year’s regional play.

The 6-2 victory put extended the Coral Gables season and a state semifinal berth.

“We have a good pitching staff that has helped us get here,” said de la Vega. “This is also a very close group of kids. I want kids on this team that are a good fit.”

The program has also assembled a more competitive schedule to prepare for future playoffs.

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