VERO BEACH — It was a marathon of thrills and courage.
Unfortunately, Carrollwood Day School, making its first state softball tournament appearance, was on the losing end.
In the longest game of the 32–team state softball tournament since it began Wednesday, the Patriots, using only 11 players, lost to Moore Haven, 15–10, in 10 innings on Friday in the Class 3A state semifinals at Historic Dodgertown.
The game included a combined 25 runs, 28 hits, 10 errors, 344 pitches, four lead changes and two ties.
“They scored almost every inning, and it’s really easy to put your head down, but we never did,” said Carrollwood Day coach Chuck Fest.
In the top of the 10th, Moore Haven scored five runs, on a bases-clearing triple by Kalgary Johns and an two-run inside-the-park home run by Alaina Lee, to take a 15-10 lead.
The Patriots had two runners on base with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, but the Terriers ended the game on a double play.
“I think we ran out of gas a little bit toward the end with the short bench that we have,” Fest said.
After scoring three runs in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game at 10, the players didn’t see the game as being over.
“I was expecting another comeback,” said pitcher Emalee Jansen, who threw 163 pitches in 92⁄3 innings with six strikeouts and one walk. “With the middle of our lineup coming up, we had speed coming up. I was expecting it.”
Said senior Amanda Rose, who had a pair of highlight-reel catches in left field: “What we were really hoping for was the fact we can go out and do the exact same thing we did. Tack on those runs and keep going. “
Moore Haven (17-5) scored three runs in the top of the eighth inning, the first on a mishandled fly ball and two more on a triple by Sydnee Cypress. In the bottom of the eighth, Carrollwood Day got RBI singles from Jansen and Amanda Rose and Emma Frost scored on a fielder’s choice.
Carrollwood Day (16-8) scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a 7-6 lead, but Moore Haven tied it in the top of the seventh.
Samantha Fest went 3-for-4 with three RBIs for the Patriots.
Friday marked the first time a team from the small school in Tampa had reached a state tournament. The student body has been dealing with heartache in the wake of two classmates who were killed in a reported murder-suicide Wednesday.
“The heart these girls have is the biggest thing — that’s the way we played all year,” Chuck Fest said.