Softball: Region final breakdown

The softball playoffs continue with Friday’s region final games. Admission is $7.  Here is the schedule with outlooks for each area game, as well as team leaders for each matchup.

Class 6A

Mitchell (21-6) at Venice (24-4), 7

Both teams are ranked among the top eight in the classification by MaxPreps (the Mustangs are No. 7 and the Indians are No. 8). Mitchell, which has won nine straight, is playing in the region final for just the second time in school history. Venice handed national powerhouse Lakewood Ranch its only loss of the season. Two of the Indians’ four losses were by a run in extra innings. 

Team leaders

Batting averageSydney Fowler .440Kayleigh Roper .506
RBIsVanessa Neptune 24Kayleigh Roper 44
Home runsKinnah Kreidler 3Kayleigh Roper 13
ERAAshley Altman 1.88Micaela Hartman 2.16
StrikeoutsSydney Fowler 100Karsyn Rutherford 63

Viera (16-6) at Durant (18-2), 7

Since taking over in 2018, Cougars coach Olivia Cuellar has led the program to a 40-8 overall record. In the region semifinals, Durant had perhaps its biggest win during that span, beating powerhouse Bartow on the road in extra innings to advance. Despite going 6-5 since the start of April, the Hawks have won the ones that mattered most. Each of their last three wins have come via shutouts. 

Team leaders

Batting averageSylvia Burroughs .559Shelby Allen .550
RBIsSkylar Waggoner 26Emily Smith 30
Home runsJayce Jackson 7Bricelyn Bedenbaugh, Emily Smith 4
ERASkylar Waggoner 1.50Haleigh Thomas 1.74
StrikeoutsSkylar Waggoner 184Haleigh Thomas 97

Class 5A

Land O’ Lakes (22-7) at Palmetto (14-7), 7

This is the first time the Gators advanced to the region final since 2018 when the program made the last of their three straight state semifinal appearances. Much like those teams, defense and pitching have been the difference. Land O’ Lakes has allowed just one run so far in the postseason. The Tigers have won five straight, including four each by a run. 

Team leaders

CategoryLand O’ LakesPalmetto
Batting averageNehanda Lewis .480Courtney Waldo .507
RBIsNehanda Lewis 38Courtney Waldo, Whitney Waldo 19
Home runsNehanda Lewis, Hannah Purcell 3Whitney Waldo 3
ERAMia Fields 1.58Desiree Aitken 1.97
StrikeoutsMia Fields 56Desiree Aitken 50

Class 4A

Hernando (24-4) at Lake Region (18-11), 7

The Leopards have been dominant, outscoring foes by a combined 64-5 during their current five-game win streak. In Tuesday’s region final, Hernando jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first two innings en route to a 14-2 victory over Wesley Chapel. Hannah Lynch went 3-for-4 with a triple, an RBI and three runs scored. The Thunder have won five straight, including a 4-1 victory over Robinson in the region semifinals. 

Team leaders

CategoryHernandoLake Region
Batting averageSolaris Genberg .493Raelyn Roland .413
RBIsOlivia Townsend 37Kaley Fail 20
Home runsOlivia Townsend 5Raelyn Roland 3
ERAAva Braswell 1.59Alex Wright 1.54
StrikeoutsAva Braswell 65Alex Wright 97

Class 3A 

Lakeland McKeel Academy (20-7) at Academy of the Holy Names (16-5), 7

The Jaguars have won 11 straight, including a pair of walk off victories against rival Calvary Christian, the latest coming in Tuesday’s region semifinals. Annabelle Sardja has thrown consecutive shutouts and has allowed a combined five hits so far in the playoffs. After winning three straight slugfests, the Wildcats showed they can prevail in tight, low-scoring games, too, beating Cypress Creek 3-0 in the region semifinals.  

Team leaders

CategoryMcKeel AcademyAcademy of the Holy Names
Batting averageCharli Warren .552Rachael Petrarca .485
RBIsKyndal Cornelius 44Annabelle Sardja 20
Home runsKerissa Howell 5Rachael Petrarca 2
ERAAnnalyse Torres 3.43Keala Hollenkamp 1.47
StrikeoutsSkyler Hodges 116Annabelle Sardja 78

Class 2A 

Canterbury (20-9) at Fort Myers Evangelical Christian (21-4), 5

Since the district two weeks ago, the Crusaders have demolished the competition in 2A, winning their past four by a combined 47-2. Morgen Talley hit two homers in Tuesday’s region semifinal win over Academy at the Lakes and now has 14 on the season, tied with one another for the second-most in the state. 

Team leaders

CategoryCanterburyEvangelical Christian
Batting averagePayton Cushman .444Kylie Shaw .638
RBIsMorgen Talley 42Zoe Yzaguirre 37
Home runsMorgen Talley 14Zoe Yzaguirre 6
ERAMackenzie Bergstrom 2.08Zoe Yzaguirre 1.93
StrikeoutsMorgen Talley 109Zoe Yzaguirre 212

Seffner Christian (18-6) at Mount Dora (19-8), 7

The Crusaders, ranked No. 8 in the classification by MaxPreps, are one away from their first state semifinal appearance. Shannon Kendall, the team’s ace, has allowed just two runs in her last four starts. She also is showing some power at the plate with homers in three of the last four games, including both postseason contests. The Bulldogs, ranked No. 4 in the classification, have won five straight, all by four or more runs. 

Team leaders

CategorySeffner ChristianMount Dora
Batting averageAnna Burnside .493Leah Marshall .483
RBIsAmber Rodriguez 26Leah Marshall 38
Home runsShannon Kendall 4Emily Allen 10
ERAShannon Kendall 2.94Wynter Craft 2.26
StrikeoutsShannon Kendall 121Leah Marshall 95