LAKE HOWELL BEATS VIERA IN SOFTBALL REGIONAL
By Jeff Navin // April 26, 2012
Titusville wins, But Mustangs, Holy Trinity fall
BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – The season was over and Viera High School softball coach Dale Pierce and his assistants had just talked to their team after a humbling 11-1 loss Wednesday night in the Class 7A regional quarterfinals at Viera Regional Park.
The players then ran some light sprints to warm down. The youthful Hawks figure they’ll be back.
“It was one bad inning, and that was it,” said Pierce, whose Hawks finished the season with a 17-9 record. “You can’t come out and play like that against a team like Lake Howell. They took advantage of it.”
The bad inning was the top of the second when the Silver Hawks scored six runs on seven hits to take a 6-0 advantage.
Autumn Hanners, who limited Viera to two hits in the 4 1/2-inning game which was shortened due to the 10-run rule, singled to center field and advanced to second base when the ball was mishandled in the outfield. Ana Breeden then struck out Melissa Wolff.
Jayna Abercrombie reached first when Viera shortstop Shay Richardson fielded a bloop grounder and unsuccessfuly tried to nab courtesy runner Allison Harmel at third base instead of throwing to first base to retire Abercrombie. Maghan Sowden’s bloop single to right field drove in Harmel and Abercrombie advanced to third base. Viera third baseman Natalia Acosta fielded Alyssa Fraley’s bunt and threw out Abercrombie in a close play at home plate.
Samara Gammons followed with a single to right field to drive in courtesy runner Angelica Polley as Fraley moved to third base and Gammons continued to second on the throw to home plate. MegAnn Smith’s double to left field drove in Fraley and Gammons to make it 4-0.
Pierce then replaced Breeden on the mound with Kate Callinan.
Ashia Kerr, who has hit 12 home runs this season, followed with another double to send Smith home. Rayvin Vick singled to left field as Kerr held at third base, and Hanners singled to left field to drive in Kerr. Wolff walked to load the bases, but Callinan retired Abercrombie on a grounder to second to end the uprising.
“We picked a bad night to have a bad inning,” Pierce said. “Lake Howell is scrappy and they have speed. They were everything we expected. We scouted them perfectly. We just couldn’t get it done.”
Viera whittled the deficit with a single run in the bottom of the second, but it also left two runners on base.
Mary Dawson walked and moved to second on Dee Anderson’s sacrifice bunt. Acosta walked and Taylor Spence ripped a single to center field to load the bases. Richardson reached on a fielder’s choice grounder to the shortstop to drive in Dawson, but Lauren Palombi grounded to second to end the threat.
After Callinan retired the Silver Hawks in order in the top of the third inning, Viera loaded the bases on consecutive one-out walks to Lindsey Bishop, Callinan and Dawson. But Bishop held at third base on Anderson’s fly to left field and Hanners struck out Acosta to end the inning.
“If we had a couple of big hits, it could have a different ballgame,” Pierce said. “We left (nine) runners on base. … We knew coming in nothing would be easy. They earned it. They did a great job.”
Lake Howell improved to 20-7 and it will face District 4 champion Winter Springs, which blanked New Smyrna Beach 6-0 in another regional quarterfinal on Wednesday. Winter Springs defeated Lake Howell for the District 4 Championship.
The Silver Hawks extended their lead to 7-1 with a single run in the top of the fourth inning. Smith reached on an infield hit, Kerr singled to right field and Vick reached on a fielder’s choice when Acosta fielded her grounder to third base and stepped on the bag to retire Smith.
Sarah Siebert came on in relief of Callinan and gave up Hanners’ run-scoring single to right field. Wolff followed with a grounder to Richardson at shortstop and her strong throw home caught Vick at home plate as Palombi slapped a quick tag for the out. Abercrombie reached on a bunt single, but Sowden grounded out to second to end the inning.
With one out in the top of the fifth, Gammons tripled to left field, Smith was hit by a pitch and Kerr’s opposite-field single to left field drove in Gammons. Vick walked to load the bases, and Hanners hit a two-run single to right field to make it 10-1. Wolff’s drive to center field was run down by Viera’s Anderson for a fine catch as Vick scored on the sacrifice fly to account for what would be the final margin of 11-1.
Kerr and Hanners each had four hits for Lake Howell, which finished with 15 hits. Gammons and Smith added two hits apiece.
Hanners struck out four and walked eight to earn the victory.
Viera threatened to take an early lead in the bottom of the first inning as Palombi walked with one out, stole second and moved to third on a passed ball as Breeden took first base on a walk. Hanners got out of trouble when she induced Bishop to pop out and struck out Callinan.
“We had a great year,” Pierce said. “All of our pitchers are younger and we get them back next year.”
Other regional games
In other regional softball quarterfinal matchups Wednesday, Class 3A Winter Park Trinity Prep eliminated Holy Trinity, 15-0, and Class 5A Merrit Island was shut out by Auburndale, 6-0.
Titusville topped Lake Wales 2-0 and will host Auburndale at 7 p.m. Friday in the Class 5A regional semifinals.
Also advancing is Palm Bay Covenant Christian, which defeated Lakeland Victory Christian, 8-2. Covenant Christian will host All Saints Academy of Winter Haven in the Class 2A regional semifinals Friday.