Today's game was much closer to home as I had to drive only ten minutes to watch the Westminster Academy softball team take on the Coral Springs Christian Crusaders in district play today. It was a back and forth affair that included a plethora of runs, but the Lady Lions came out on top by a score of 19-9 (ironically the same score of the Cardinal Gibbons game). They have now won six games in a row!
The Lady Lions got right to it as junior Micaela Von Essen hit a two-run inside the park home run to give WA a 2-0 lead in the first inning. CSCA responded with three runs of its own in the bottom of the first inning and the lead would only keep changing from there. Up a run in the seventh inning, WA used a big nine run inning to put CSCA away and secure their second district win of the year. Seniors Alex Pagliaro and Jensen Strandberg played instrumental roles in the win today. Pagliaro knocked in three runs on four hits while scoring three times and stealing one base. Strandberg notched three hits, plated four runners, and scored twice. One of Strandberg's three hits in particular was a clutch two out, two strike double in the fifth inning that scored two runs to give WA the lead. I asked Pagliaro her thoughts on the game and she said, "I thought we stepped it up in the last inning. I was proud."
The contagious hitting of the seniors rubbed off on the rest of the team. I'll start with the two juniors, Micaela Von Essen and Brantley Taylor. Von Essen's home run was her only hit, but she knocked in four runs. Taylor reached base four times in five at bats. She stroked two hits, had one RBI, and stole a base. Going to sophomores, Kiersten Casey had one hit on the day, but it was a big one as it scored two runners in the Lady Lions' big seventh inning. She finished the day with three RBI's. Freshmen Erika Hall and Hannah Beard did a good job at moving runners into scoring position and combined to score three runs. They both swiped a base in the contest. The two middle schoolers on the squad, eighth grader Maddi Conner and seventh grader Chelsea Brown, showed why they belong at the varsity level. Conner knocked in two runs, had two hits, and scored two runs. Brown hit a home run which served as one of her three hits. She reached base five times, stole three bases, and scored four runs as well. Every Lady Lion who batted more than once in the lineup scored at least once.
Pitching wise, Jensen Strandberg was on fire. Coming in relief for Erika Hall in the second inning, she pitched six innings, struck out nine, and gave up six runs on rout to her eighth win of the year. She had some great defense behind her, as shortstop Alex Pagliaro dove to keep some balls in the outfield and threw a girl out at the plate. Catcher Brantley Taylor also did a good job at blocking balls and keeping runners in check. First baseman Maddi Conner also helped out with an unassisted double play.
With this win, the Lady Lions are 2-0 in district play and have guaranteed themselves a spot in the Class 3A District Championship game as well as a spot in 3A regional play. When asked about her team's performance, Head Coach Casey Jarvis told me, "We're working towards a championship season one game at a time." The Lady Lions' (8-1) next game is at home against the Pinecrest Panthers (1-5), who they defeated by a score of 17-6 earlier this year. This game will be at 4 p.m. on Thursday. The CSCA Crusaders (2-4) resume action tomorrow on the road against Ahfachkee at 4 p.m.