Vipers Oust Scorpions In Regional Semifinals
By Jeff Navin // April 28, 2012
Space Coast Advances to Regional Final
BREVARD COUNTY • SATELLITE BEACH, FLORIDA – Dani Mowry was more than happy to be a yo-yo for a good cause.
Her efforts on the pitcher’s circle, at shortstop and then a second stint on the pitcher’s circle Friday night helped Space Coast outlast Satellite, 6-5, in the Class 4A softball regional semifinals.
Mowry pitched the first three innings for the Vipers, who led 6-2 when Mowry moved to shortstop for the bottom of the fourth inning when second baseman Janet Snipe came on in relief. She returned to the mound with runners on first and second with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Scorpions had whittled the deficit to 6-5.
“We wanted to become more defensive-minded by moving Dani to short and bringing in Janet to pitch,” said David Fuller, who is in his fifth year as the Vipers coach. “I told Janet to let me know if she didn’t feel right out there. She made the courageous decision to let me know later on when she didn’t feel well.”
Mowry retired Kya Tucker on a foul pop to first baseman Katie Goddard to end the sixth-inning threat. With two outs, Carleigh Fales walked. Pinch runner Kaila Henson advanced to second base on a passed ball and scored on Jen Tom’s opposite-field double to left field. Kara Mineo walked, prompting Fuller to bring Mowry back in.
“It’s a tough thing to do, but my adrenaline was going strong and took over,” said Mowry, who probably will play for Florida International University next season. “I have an awesome trainer, who I have to give every ounce of credit to. That’s part of being an athlete – being able to play all aspects of the game.”
Fales, who did not allow a hit after the second inning, worked out of a mild jam in the top of the seventh inning when Jessica Griffin reached on a one-out error and, one out later, stole second base. Fales struck out Goddard to end the threat.
The Scorpions, who ended the season with a 22-7 record, put the tying and winning runs on base in the bottom of the seventh before Mowry worked her way out of trouble.
Mowry fielded a sharp liner by Alex Popa and threw to Goddard for the first out. Courtney Clark walked on a 3-2 pitch, and Sara Hart’s line drive was knocked down by Mowry for an infield hit.
Morgan Kingston’s liner up the middle also was deflected by Mowry and Snipe was able to field the ball at second base and throw the ball in time to shortstop Haleigh Myrick for the forceout at second. With runners on first and second and two outs, Jenna Smith’s well-hit ball to center field was caught by Kayla Fuller to end the game.
Left on base
Satellite left at least one baserunner on in every inning and finished with 13 runners left on base.
“We have to give a lot of credit to Satellite,” said Fuller, whose squad will travel to Keystone Heights, which defeated Bradford County of Starke 2-0 Friday in the regional semifinals, for a 7 p.m. Tuesday contest in the regional finals. “They never gave up. They kept battling. We didn’t put our foot on the gas.”
The Vipers, who improved to 22-7, forged a 6-0 lead with four runs in the top of the first inning and two more runs in the second inning.
With two outs in the first, Fuller grounded out to short. But, an illegal pitch assessed against Fales negated the out and the center fielder followed with a single to left field. Goddard walked and Fales hit Snipe with a pitch to load the bases.
Maddy Clark singled to center field to drive in Fuller and Goddard. Smith, the Satellite catcher, tried to throw out Snipe as she rounded third base, but her throw sailed into left field as Snipe scored and Clark advanced all the way to third base.
Another illegal pitch by Fales sent Clark home before Brianna Eberhardt struck out to end the inning.
Mowry got out of a jam in the home half of the first as Hart walked and was forced out at second on Kingston’s bouncer back to Mowry, who threw to Myrick for the forceout. Myrick’s wild throw to first base for an attempted double play allowed Kingston to advance to second base.
Mowry struck out Smith on a called third strike, and Fales reached on a throwing error in the infield as Kingston held at third base. Tom flied out to left to end the inning.
Extending the lead
Space Coast extended its lead to 6-0 in the as Myrick walked with one out. She advanced to second on a wild pitch before Fales struck out Mowry. Another illegal pitch with Griffin at the plate sent Myrick to third. Griffin walked, stole second and both baserunners scored on Fuller’s double to center field.
“You can’t give Space Coast that kind of lead,” said Satellite coach Andy Crooks, who finished his 15th season as the Scorpions coach. “We gave them a third out twice. They’re too good of a team of a team to get away with that. I wish them luck the rest of the way.”
Fales settled down after that and did not allow another hit. She finished with eight strikeouts and four walks. Each of the four walks came during the initial two innings.
Last week, Fales was dominant in a 2-1 victory against Space Coast in the Class 4A, District 8 Championship Game. In that game, she held the Vipers to just one hit.
“We really didn’t make any adjustments against her,” Fuller said. “We just didn’t hit the ball hard in that district game. Tonight, until the middle innings, we came out and did what we know how to do.”
The Scorpions sliced their deficit to 6-2 with two runs in the bottom of the second inning. With one out, Kya Tucker reached on a bunt single and stole second. Popa walked.
Griffin, the catcher, threw the ball past Goddard on an attempted pickoff play and the ball then was misplayed by right fielder Angaleen Galinus for another error as Tucker scored and Popa ended up on third base. Clark’s grounder to first base drove in Popa.
Leadoff singles by Smith and Fales were squandered by the Scorpions in the third inning when Mowry retired Tom on a bouncer back to the mound and struck out Mineo and Tucker to end the uprising.
Snipe came on in relief in the bottom of the fourth inning. Popa walked, Clark singled to left field and Hart popped out to Mowry at shortstop. Kingston followed with a walk to load the bases. Smith’s single to right field drove in pinch runner Carli Kimball as Clark held at third base.
After Snipe struck out Fales, Toms singled to drive in Clark. Maddy Clark, the Space Coast third baseman, then tagged out Kingston in a controversial call as she came off third base to end the inning.
The Scorpions threatened in the fifth when Mineo walked and moved to second on Tucker’s sacrifice bunt. Snipe hit Popa with a pitch and Clark reached on a fielder’s choice grounder to third base. Hart’s deep drive to left field was run down Eberhardt, who conquered a stiff wind to make what might have been the catch of the game.
“Her catch changed the ballgame,” Crooks said. “She made the right adjustments in that wind. … I’m very proud of the way we battled. If we had one more ball drop in for a single, we would have won this game.”
Fuller had two hits and drove in three runs for the Vipers, who totaled three hits.
Hart, Smith and Tom each had two hits for the Scorpions, who finished with nine hits.