Softball: Wildcats rally, reach state semis
When Jerry English became the softball coach at Academy at the Lakes a couple of years ago, he didn't believe the Wildcats would have an opportunity to reach a state semifinal.
His 14 girls made believers out of everyone Monday afternoon, as the Wildcats avenged a one-run loss to Quincy Munroe in last season's Class 2A-Region 1 final and defeated the Bobcats 9-4 at Live Oak Park.
“No, not really. I didn't know what I was getting myself into,” English said about the team's chances of reaching the state semifinals when he first arrived. “(Academy at the Lakes) asked me if I wanted to come out of retirement and coach softball and I thought about it. I love softball.”
Quincy Munroe (10-9) didn't make the road to the state semifinals easy for Academy at the Lakes. The Bobcats scored three runs off of Wildcats starting pitcher Sydney Boynton (eight strikeouts) in the top of the first inning. After threatening a couple times in the first and second innings, the Wildcats (11-5) were able to come through in the third. Maria Aumaitre and Lauren Evans, who was intentionally walked three times, both scored on a dropped fly ball error and helped bring AATL to within 3-2.
The bottom of the fourth inning was the turning point as AATL got five runs on three hits and two walks.
AATL will play Canterbury in the state semifinals Friday at 10:30 a.m. at the Vero Beach Sports Village.
“We survived the three runs early on. We knew we had to get them back,” English said. “We were playing for one run at a time. Everyone came through from the one through nine. The kids played very well.”
Hot Wheels: Kids are driving Pinellas County's car-theft epidemic. It's a dangerous, sometimes deadly, game.