Roundup: Blue Wave, Bulldogs into regional semis
Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
For a team that has state title aspirations, it wasn't the most impressive playoff opening for P.K. Yonge in softball on Wednesday. But the Blue Wave sure did finish strong.
P.K. Yonge scored seven runs in the third inning, then delivered the knockout in the fourth with an additional six runs to bury Daytona Beach Father Lopez, 15-0, in the Class 3A, Region 1 quarterfinals.
The Blue Wave (26-2) didn't score in the first inning and had two runs in the second, one coming off a Green Wave error. But all the struggles at the plate disappeared by the third, when Katie O'Dell and Kalen McGill hit back-to-back doubles, Kassidy Kennard doubled and Taylor Knight ripped a two-run double to left-center.
Then, with the bases loaded, O'Dell, batting for the second time in the inning, hit a bases-clearing triple. By that point, it was 9-0 Blue Wave.
“We didn't do a very good job adjusting to the speed of the pitching in those first few innings,” said P.K. Yonge coach Paul Silverman. “We have done a good job at that in the past. Sometimes what happens I think in regionals you get a little overanxious. So when the pitching is a little bit slower, you get ahead of yourself. I never felt nervous, but was frustrated that we weren't hitting the ball harder.”
By the fourth, Father Lopez starter Kaitlyn McCathran was tiring and walked three of the first four batters she faced. The Blue Wave cashed in, with substitutes getting the big hits with freshman Kathryn Butts delivering a two-run single and seventh grader Bailey Ledvina with a three-run double to end the game.
While P.K. Yonge warmed up with the bats, McGill (23-2) tossed another gem on the mound, not allowing a hit in four innings pitched with eight strikeouts. Father Lopez, which had only one baserunner off a first-inning Blue Wave error, closed its season at 2-17.
P.K. Yonge will travel to Oviedo next Tuesday to face The Master's Academy, which eliminated Oak Hall on Wednesday, 10-0. A year ago, the Blue Wave beat the Eagles in last year's regional semifinal, 15-0.
“Quite frankly, we don't mind going on the road to play Master's,” Silverman said. “I think it will be beneficial for our girls to go on the road and play at some place they haven't played before.
“I would have liked us to have played better right from the first pitch, and there are some things we need to work on. While the game ended up just fine, I want us to come out with intensity and energy from the very first pitch regardless of the opponent.”
SUWANNEE 5, PENSACOLA WEST FLORIDA 0: At Live Oak, sophomore Timberly Steichen had two hits, including a double, and drove in three runs in leading the Bulldogs to their first playoff win since 2005.
Suwannee (15-9), winners of eight straight, will host Panama City Rutherford in next Tuesday's regional semifinal. The Bulldogs have never advanced beyond the regional semifinals.
“It is a big win,” said Suwannee coach Tommy Chambers. “We have been there three years in a row, and lost by one run the last two years.To get the opportunity to play at home is great because it cuts down on that long trip to the Pensacola area.”
Jessie TenBroeck, who had a double in Wednesday's game, has been 22 of 30 at the plate during the Bulldogs' run.
“She has been phenomenal,” Chambers said. “She is scoring runs and stealing bases. When she gets on base, it puts a lot of pressure on the opponent.
“It was a real good team victory. We played well offensively and defensively.”
Scoreless through four innings, the Bulldogs broke through in the fifth with two runs and added three in the sixth. Suwannee's Audre Bryant improved to 4-1 in the circle, allowing just six hits.
West Florida, which last year beat Suwannee 4-3 in the regional quarterfinals, ended its season 20-6.
The Jaguars, who returned seven starters from last year's team, went 8-0 in its district but was upset by Rutherford 4-3 in the District 1 tournament final. Then in the opening round of the playoffs, they fell in Live Oak.
“We won our first district title this year, and beating Lafayette on the road to end the regular season was huge for us,” Chambers said. “I have a lot of respect for Derek Garland, and that is a great team. I love to continue to make history and if we win on Tuesday, it will be the first time we reached the regional finals. I can't wait to see if we can continue to ride this wave.”