Every play on the entire Osceola Kowboys softball roster can current say they have been district champions their entire careers thus far.
That includes Megan Martin, the team’s lone senior.
Osceola ran its district championship string to four on Friday by pummeling Haines City in the District 9A-5 title game, 14-0. It was played a day after heavy rain and lightning moved the game from Thursday.
Shelby Jones pitched the shutout, the team’s ninth of the season, and shortstop Audra Thompson kept her hot offensive year going with three extra-base hits as the Kowboys ended the game early in emphatic mercy-rule fashion.
“Our kids just looked really focused and they played that way,” OHS Coach George Coffey said. “I liked how they were mentally prepared.”
The news wasn’t as good out east on 192 as St. Cloud saw a string of four district titles snapped at the hands of Windermere, 4-1, in the District 8A-10 title game Friday, also delayed a night by rain.
“Mentally it wasn’t our best game,” Bulldogs Coach Ray Whobrey said. “Then after the game there was this sense of shock.”
The Wolverines, who led the 8A-10 game last year 3-1 going into the sixth inning only to watch St. Cloud score twice in the sixth and once in the seventh to walk off with the win, made a 4-0 lead stand up this time. The Bulldogs scratched out a run in the bottom of the seventh but couldn’t find enough for a comeback this year.
Osceola (17-9) hosts Timber Creek (16-7), the 9A-6 runner-up, in Wednesday’s Region 2 quarterfinal. A win puts the Kowboys into Tuesday’s regional semifinal against the winner of Haines City and Oviedo, and it would continue the coaching career of OHS Coach George Coffey. At the start of the season he announced this would be the last season of his quarter-century OHS coaching run.
“The kids have handled that well, they’ve known it all year and done great with it,” he said. “Our motto all year has been, ‘Just One More,’ and we talk all the time about winning the next inning and taking care of business. This team has the right attitude and won’t let emotions take control. As for me, I’m at peace with it.”
St. Cloud (19-7-1), part of a loaded Region 8A-3, has the same daunting task ahead regardless of if they’d won on Friday, aside from going on the road. The Bulldogs head north Wednesday to face Winter Springs (26-0), ranked No. 4 in all of Florida by MaxPreps. The winner of Windermere and Hagerty, another state-ranked team in Winter Springs’ district. Last year, Hagerty was again the 8A-9 runner-up, beat the Bulldogs in St. Cloud in the regional quarterfinal, overcame Winter Springs in the next round, and went on to win the Class 8A state championship.
In other words, Whobrey said there’s a blueprint for success here.
“We’ve seen a team do it already,” he said Monday. “It’s going to be David-versus-Goliath against Winter Springs, but we can do it.”