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Friday, May 25, 2018
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Softball: Robinson makes it 10 straight wins vs. Jefferson

TAMPA — For the Robinson softball team, the perfect 10 was complete.

The top-seeded Knights defeated No. 2 Jefferson for the 10th consecutive time Thursday and claimed their fifth district championship in a row, a 12-2 five-inning victory in the Class 6A, District 8 finale.

Robinson (21-6) scored nine runs in the bottom of the first to erase a 1-0 deficit to continue its recent dominance in district finales.

In the past five district championship games — the past three against Jefferson and two vs. Middleton — Robinson has scored 63 of the contests' 70 runs.

"We have better than a decent program," said Robinson coach Ed Gallio, who won his seventh district title in 17 years at the helm. "I have a bunch of good girls. I have a bunch of good coaches. They're dedicated."

Robinson has defeated Jefferson 10 times in a row by a margin of 99-26 since losing a 9-7 decision on March 9, 2013.

Winning pitcher Cassidy Renninger allowed only two unearned runs in the first and fourth innings.

Both teams were affected in the first inning by a lightning-fast infield that contributed to seven of the game's eight errors. After Gabriella Bello scored to give Jefferson a 1-0 lead, Robinson bounced back with its nine-run outburst in the bottom of the first to take command.

The Knights sent 13 batters to the plate. They had eight hits, three stolen bases, and capitalized on four Jefferson errors. Six of the nine runs were unearned as losing pitcher Jasmin Fontela threw 32 of her 77 overall pitches in the inning for Jefferson (12-11).

Senior rightfielder Tara White, who plans to attend Florida State next season, stroked a two-run single to give Robinson a 4-1 lead. White finished 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and three RBI.

"I think that scenario, in itself, sends up who we are as a team," White said. "Being down one run is never something that's going to shake us up. We're always able to fight back, and we've proven that time and time again over the course of the season."

Alexis Smith, who also contributed three hits, had a single and RBI triple in the first.

Robinson pounded out 14 hits with seven starters getting at least one base knock. Raleigh Lutz, who ended the game with a two-out RBI single in the fifth to score Smith, had two hits along with Claire White and Renninger.

Renninger threw 41 of 74 pitches for strikes in five innings. She allowed four hits.

"It just feels amazing, especially coming out into the postseason," Tara White said. "Taking this one is a real confidence boost for all of us, and me being a senior, I feel like it's my responsibility to be that driving factor for the rest of the team.

"It feels good to be that spark that hopefully is going to give us that extra drive to go further and further into the postseason."

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