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Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Softball: It’s April, so Chamberlain is winning

TAMPA — Coach Bob Diez and his Chamberlain Chiefs have always believed in this motto: "Be good in April."

This is their season.

The Chiefs added another Class 7A-8 district title Thursday against Gaither with a 7-0 victory.

With the win, the Chiefs will host Lake Gibson on Wednesday, while Gaither travels to Winter Haven.

"It's always satisfying," Diez said of the district title. "It's especially satisfying against Gaither. They're our neighborhood rival."

The Chiefs lost three straight games heading into the district tournament but that was mainly because big bats — Lani Trent and Maddie Lewis —were injured. They are healthy now and it showed Thursday. Trent had two hits, including a seventh-inning, three-run home run, and added four RBIs in the game. Lewis reached base three times and scored twice.

"That makes a big difference," Diez said. "And Gabby (Vallee) just controlled the game."

Vallee scattered three hits and struck out 10 in a dominating performance. Only in the second inning did Gaither get a runner past first base.

"My mindset is the same — beat the other team and keep them off the bases," she said. "Maddie and Lani have always been two of our strongest hitters so it's nice to have them back."

The biggest play of the game came from No. 9 hitter, Serenity Jaenichen, who cracked a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth to extend Chamberlain's lead to 4-0. Brooke Rosello (1-3) added an RBI single for Chamberlain.

Armana Ware went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a stolen base and Selina Ramos went 2-for-4 with a run scored for the Chiefs, who banged out 11 hits in the game.

That was enough for Vallee and the Chiefs.

"This is a great feeling especially for Gabby who has been carrying us the whole season," Trent said. "Being able to help her and with Ren coming up with the clutch hit, it's a good feeling."

It's that April feeling.

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