Roundup: Union County makes first semis appearance


Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 12:03 a.m.

The Union County softball team, in the regional playoffs for the first time since 1998, clinched its first state semifinals berth in school history after defeating Baldwin 8-2 in Tuesday night's Class 1A, Region 4 final.

Mariah Bowen collected three hits, including a solo home run, scored three times and drove in a run for the Tigers (18-6). Union County ace Alexis Spriggle (14-2) earned the win, while Harlee Rimes had two hits and scored a run with Kendallyn Johns picking up a pair of hits and driving in a pair of runs.

“They worked really hard and this team just battled,” Union County coach Trudy Andrews said. “The bats came alive. ... Mariah was the offensive leader.”

Union County, who defeated Baldwin twice in the regular season, avenged its loss in the District 7-1A title game. The Tigers led 6-0 on Tuesday night heading into the bottom of the fourth, before sealing the win with two runs in the seventh.

Now the Tigers will face fellow area team Lafayette in the state semifinals. The Tigers and Hornets, who have not played each other this season, will meet in Monday's Class 1A state semifinals at 5 p.m. at The National Training Center in Clermont.

“I told them to enjoy the moment and cherish and bask in it and come back ready to work hard,” Andrews said.

CLASS 3A, REGION 1

Bishop Snyder junior Sydney Wright struck out eight as the Cardinals defeated visiting P.K. Yonge 6-2 in the Region 1 final to advance to the Class 3A softball final four.

Cardinals coach Mike Young said the victory is a culmination of a season's worth of hard work.

“It feels great to win,” Young said. “There were a lot of expectations in the way we played and prepared all season. Today the team met those expectations.”

The Cardinals (24-5) fell behind early, but a second-inning RBI single from Emily Knox tied the game 1-1, and they never trailed again.

Bishop Snyder scored three runs on five hits in the third inning and added another run in the fifth, when Natasha Kistler scored on outfielder's error.

P.K. Yonge (19-9) tried to mount a comeback in the sixth. With the bases loaded, Wright, an Arkansas commitment, walked Kaitlyn Burke to make the score 5-2. The Blue Wave had a chance to take the lead with the bases loaded and two outs, but Kalen McGill flew out to center field to end the rally.

“We just lost to an excellent team that beat us in pitching, defense and hitting,” said P.K. Yonge coach Paul Silverman. “They were the better team today. Next year might see them again, if that at is the case, it would be at our place.

"This was our first regional final together, so they learned a lot from it. Bishop Snyder was the most aggressive base-running team we have faced this season.”

Young said that his team was prepared for the situation.

“I tell the kids, ‘Don't be afraid to have success,'” Young said. “They have to be able to play through adversity. Today, the kids played through the adversity.”

The Cardinals added another run in the sixth to pad their lead to 6-2 and clinched a berth in the Class 3A state semifinals when Wright struck out the final batter of the game.

Bishop Snyder will face Winter Park Trinity Prep, a 10-0 regional final winner over Lakeland McKeel, at 5 p.m. May 11 at the National Training Center Softball Complex in Clermont.

— Jon Shumake, Florida Times-Union

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