Satellite Prevails Over Vipers For District Softball Title

By  //  April 20, 2012

Prep sports

Satellite celebrates after winning the Class 4A, District 8 softball title at Satellite High School on Thursday. (Image by Jeff Navin)

BREVARD COUNTY •  SATELLITE BEACH, FLORIDA –  Sophomore Sarah Hart hit a home run to remember Thursday as Satellite High won its third consecutive district title in  softball.

Hart hammered Dani Mowry’s second pitch of the game down the left-field line for the first home run of her softball career as the Scorpions went on to hold off Space Coast 2-1 in the Class 4A, District 8 Championship Game.

Despite playing at home, Satellite was considered the visiting team since it was the No. 2 seed after losing to top-seeded Space Coast in both regular-season meetings.

“I never saw it (the home run),” said Hart, who plays center field for the Scorpions, who improved to 21-6. “. . . I was sprinting around the bases and I didn’t know it right away.

I heard the people cheering and I saw coach’s hands go up. She’s (Mowry) definitely a tough pitcher.”

One out later, Jenna Smith singled to left-center field.

After Carleigh Fales grounded to second with Smith advancing to second base, Jen Tom hit a well-placed bloop double just over third baseman Maddy Clark’s head as Smith sprinted home to give Satellite a 2-0 lead.

Mowry retired Kara Mineo on a grounder to shortstop Haleigh Myrick to end the uprising.

Sarah Hart: ‘We Go As She Goes’

“Sarah has been a great first batter for us,” said Satellite coach Andy Crooks, who is in his 15th year as the Scorpions’ coach.

“We go as she goes. When she’s hitting, we hit well. Usually, Sarah hits the ball up the middle. For her to go down the line is very unusual.”

Satellite will host District 7 runner-up Port Orange Atlantic at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Class 4A regional quarterfinals.

Space Coast will travel to District 7 champion Lake Highland Prep for a 7 p.m. game in the regional quarterfinals.

“Midway through last year, I put Sarah at the top of the lineup,” Crooks said.

“It’s proven to be the best coaching move I’ve made. Space Coast has a very good pitching staff.”

Mowry settled down to limit the Scorpions to just one hit in the next three innings.

She struck out two and did not walk a batter in her four innings of work.

Janet Snipe struck out four in three shutout innings of relief for the Vipers. She allowed one hit and did not walk a batter.

Fales Dominate On Mound

Carleigh Fales was just a little more dominant on the mound for the Scorpions. Fales, a senior, limited the Vipers to just one hit.

She walked three (one on an illegal pitch to negate a strikeout), hit one batter, and struck out three.

“She’s got great control, and she hit the spots whenever she had to. We just didn’t hit the ball. That 2-0 (deficit) just took the wind out of our sails.”

“She (Fales) shouldn’t have been as tough on us as she was,” said Space Coast coach David Fuller, who has guided the Vipers to six consecutive appearances in the state tournament.

“She’s got great control, and she hit the spots whenever she had to. We just didn’t hit the ball. That 2-0 (deficit) just took the wind out of our sails.”

Space Coast had an opportunity to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth when Jessica Fleming seemingly struck out, but was awarded first base on a 3-2 pitch which was deemed to be illegal by Fales.

Myrick’s sacrifice bunt moved Fleming to second, but Mowry flied out to left field and Jessica Griffin popped out to shortstop Morgan Kingston to end the threat.

The Vipers, who fell to 20-7, scored their lone run in the third inning without the benefit of a hit. With one out, Griffin walked and stole second.

Kayla Fuller’s hard ground ball was bobbled by Kingston, who then threw wildly to first base as Griffin scampered home.

“I tried to pitch like it was a 0-0 game,” Fales said. “It gives me an edge – like I still have to earn it.”

Satellite right fielder Kya Tucker caught a long fly by Griffin against the fence in right field with one out in the first inning. Fuller then walked with two out, but she was caught stealing with Katie Goddard at the plate.

Early Threat Foiled

As Class 4A, District 8 runner-up, Space Coast will travel to meet District 7 champion Lake Highland Prep in the regional quarterfinals Tuesday.

Fales struck out Clark and retired Fleming on a pop up to the mound with runners on second and third to foil a second-inning threat.

Goddard had singled to left field to lead off the inning and pinch runner Alexis Weeks advanced to second on an illegal pitch.

Brianna Eberhardt reached on a fielder’s choice grounder to Fales, who threw out Weeks when she tried to advance to third base.

Fales then hit Snipe with a pitch and a wild pitch sent the baserunners to second and third base, respectively.

Kingston robbed Fuller of a basehit for the Vipers to lead off the sixth inning when she fielded a sharply hit ball into the hole at shortstop and made a strong throw to first base.

As Class 4A, District 8 runner-up, Space Coast will travel to meet District 7 champion Lake Highland Prep in the regional quarterfinals Tuesday.

Satellite squandered a chance to extend its lead in the top of the seventh inning after Tom reached second when a slicing fly ball was dropped in left field. Mineo’s bunt single sent Tom to third base. Snipe retired Tucker on a pop up to Clark at third base.

Clark then threw out Tom at home plate on Alexis Popa’s grounder to third. Snipe struck out Courtney Clark to end the inning.

Last season, Satellite fell 10-3 in the Class 3A Championship Game to Gulliver Prep when Fales was called for a flurry of illegal pitches.

The Scorpions defeated DeSoto County of Arcadia 6-3 in the state semifinals.

Space Coast lost 3-0 to Riviera Beach Suncoast in the Class 4A regional quarterfinals in 2011.