Harmony blanks Dogs for 7A-5 softball title
By Rick Pedone
Harmony shut out St. Cloud, 7-0, Friday to clinch the 7A-5 district softball championship at Osceola High.
Aleshia Ocasio pitched a two-hitter and drove in two runs, and Lily Mann added two hits and two RBIs, to boost the Longhorns to their fourth consecutive district title.
Harmony, 24-2, will host Lakeland Jenkins Thursday at 7 p.m. in a 7A-2 regional quarterfinal. St. Cloud, 19-8, will travel to 7A-6 champion Bartow.
Harmony and St. Cloud locked down regional playoff berths with semifinal victories Thursday.
Harmony cruised past Lake Nona, 8-0, as Ocasio picked up the win and Molly Baker added four innings of scoreless relief pitching.
St. Cloud stopped the No. 2-seeded host Lady Kowboys as Lindsay Markham scattered four hits and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning.
Jaden Kline had three hits for Harmony and Taylor Soltys drive in a pair of runs.
Harmony’s Lady Longhorns, state tournament qualifiers last year, enjoyed an exciting week. In addition to securing their playoff berth, they also were honored Friday at the high school by MaxPreps as one of the website’s top teams for the month of March.
After that, Ocasio enjoyed a scholarship signing celebration at the high school’s media center. The all-state selection will join the University of Florida’s softball program next year.
St. Cloud scored four runs on five hits in the top of the first inning to take control of its semifinal game against OHS. Shortstop Cortney Wentzell’s first of two doubles drove in the first run of the game and the Lady Bulldogs got RBI hits from Paola Del Valle and Hayle Pittman later in the inning. Wentzell drove in another run in the third inning on an infield grounder when St. Cloud built its lead to 6-0. Sara Crawford doubled and scored on an error.
St. Cloud Coach Ray Whobrey said his team is putting together a nice blend of power, speed, defense
“We’ve got three girls with more than 20 steals, and six girls who have hit home runs for us,” he said. “We’ve been getting great senior leadership from Emily Blackmore (who singled and scored in the first inning).
Osceola, 14-10, scored without getting a hit in the fourth inning as Abigail Kendrick walked and scored to make it 6-1. Kendrick’s RBI single in the fifth inning drove in Chantal Crockett to close the gap to 6-2.
Osceola Coach George Coffey said the season was a success.
“What we have accomplished, winning so many games with a team as young as this one, that is something special,” Coffey said.
“I have had such a great time coaching these kids. They make it a pleasure to come to the field. I am looking forward to seeing what we can do in the next couple of years.”
The regional quarterfinals begin Thursday.
St. Cloud advanced to the semifinals by beating Celebration (5-17), 9-1, in the quarterfinals Wednesday.
Emily Henderson went 3-for-3 and Wentzell homered for the Bulldogs. Maddy White wrapped up her Celebration career by going 2-for-2 with an RBI.
Osceola eliminated Liberty, 9-2, Wednesday as Leila Santiago had three hits and four RBIs for the Kowgirls. Liberty’s Brittany Gomez went 3-for-3 and Sarah Ramos was 2-for-2 for the Chargers (3-14).
Lake Nona eliminated Gateway Monday, 10-1.
Lake Region blanked Poinciana, 16-0, at the 6A-8 tournament Monday.