TAMPA — When coach Bobby Diez’s Chamberlain Chiefs won a softball state championship two years ago, his team used dominant pitching, great defense and just enough power to pull out postseason victories.
All three facets were on display for the Chiefs on Sunday in a 3-1 win over North Fort Myers in the Class 6A-Region 3 final.
The Chiefs face either Ocala Forest or Lake Region in Wednesday’s state semifinals in Vero Beach.
After North Fort Myers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, Chamberlain quickly responded as leadoff hitter Lauren Williams hit a solo homer and Elizabeth Diaz drove in Hope Hernandez with a ground out.
The Chiefs made it 3-1 in the third when Jenna Brownell scored on Kelsey Mays’ safety squeeze.
Chamberlain sophomore Olivia Dwyer allowed five hits in the complete game, only three after the first inning.
“The first inning wasn’t great, but that happens,” Dwyer said. “When that happens, you have to shake it off and let your teammates pick you up. You can’t let little things like that bother you.”
Dwyer was supported by superb defense, especially in the fifth when Brownell turned in a gem to help protect the lead.
“Our defense has been great all season.” Diez said.
7A-2: Durant falls 3-0
HARMONY — Durant’s quest for a second state title fell short, losing 3-0 to No. 2-ranked Harmony.
Harmony, which lost to eventual 7A state champion St. Thomas Aquinas in last year’s semifinals, scored all three runs in the fifth inning, while future University of Florida pitcher Aleshia Ocasio earned the shutout.
Sophomore Madison Farrell had a double for Durant (20-9), and freshman Sloan Hammons pitched six solid innings.
“We had runners on the first two or three innings but we couldn’t string together hits when we needed them,” Durant coach Matt Carter said.