VALRICO — Bloomingdale’s softball team is playing like a team that can’t lose. Literally.
Led by junior right-hander Lace Smith, the Bulls, ranked ninth in the latest Class 8A state poll, improved to 9-0 Tuesday with a 2-1 win against Alonso in a 8A District 7 game.
“For the full first round (of the season) to be undefeated is wonderful,” said first-year Bloomingdale coach Mandy Schuerman.
Smith (8-0) was involved in every facet of Bloomingdale’s win, striking out 10 with no walks, going 2-for-3 at the plate and scoring the winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning.
On the winning run, Smith reached first on a single, was bunted to second by Darby Bernaldo and scored on a single by Sammy Seldon with two outs.
“It feels amazing,” Smith said. “We wanted to keep it going, and hopefully we do keep it going. Like I said earlier, it feels terrible to lose, so I hope we keep it going.”
Tuesday marked Smith’s third double-digit strikeout performance in the past week.
“My coach makes me run for my walks, so it kind of scares me,” Smith joked. “So yeah, I just pitch strikes.”
In the top of the seventh, Alonso had runners on second and third with two outs, but Smith forced a pop-up that was caught by Jenna Beswick to end the game.
Sophomore Taylor Engman scored on an error in the first for a 1-0 Bloomingdale lead. Alonso (7-2, 3-2) tied it in the fourth when Allison Carroll’s single drove in Kiara Johnson. The Ravens had a chance to take the lead in the fourth when Jaylene Pryor sprinted home after a passed ball, but she was met by Smith who made the final out.
“I saw it come off the pole, so I was just trying to get there as fast as I can and get the girl out because I knew she was going to be fast,” Smith said.