Softball: Tampa Bay area buzz — May 19

The Tampa Bay area will be well-represented at next week’s state tournament. Here are the recaps from Friday’s region finals.

Class 7A

Region 2

Plant 8, Windermere 3

In a matchup between the top two teams in the region, the host Panthers rallied by scoring six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to go ahead for good.

The win not only extended Plant’s win to 18 games but also marked the school’s first trip to the state semifinals since 2000.

Addison Swink went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Gracie Ciccarello and Graci Quinlan each drove in runs. And Teagan Riley and Kate Compton each had run-scoring doubles to lead the Panthers on offense.

Ahead 8-3, Cassidy Masters came on in relief, allowing two hits in three scoreless innings while striking out five.

Class 6A

Region 2

Land O’ Lakes 3, Bloomingdale 0 (10 innings)

For the second time in three seasons, the Gators have reached the state semifinals.

This trip required some endurance.

Locked in a pitchers’ duel with zeros stretched across the scoreboard for most of the night, Land O’ Lakes broke through in the 10th inning when Aliyah Bentley tripled, then came home on a single Jadyn Spencer for what turned out to be the winning run. Makenna Bellaire provided some cushion with a two-run homer.

Aliana Mercado, who threw a three-hitter with four strikeouts, sealed the win by preserving the shutout in the bottom of the 10th.

Bulls ace Natalie Cable hurled nine scoreless innings before giving up the three runs in the 10th and finished with 18 strikeouts.

Class 5A

Region 2

River Ridge 3, Auburndale 1

The Royal Knights relied on their power to reach the state semifinals for the first time since 2004.

Lauren Kreshon hit a two-run homer in the third inning and Sophie Johnson followed with a solo blast in the fourth.

Jayda Smith threw a six-hitter, allowing one while striking out eight.

Class 3A

Region 2

Montverde Academy 3, Hernando 2

The Leopards’ quest to make their third straight title game appearance fell just short.

Hernando took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, then watched as Montverde scored twice in the second innings and added another run in the fifth to go ahead 3-1.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Leopards scored once but could not get any closer.

Region 3
Calvary Christian 3, Fort Myers Bishop Verot 0

Thanks to a quick start, the defending state champion Warriors are headed back to the final four in Clermont.

Calvary scored one run in the first inning and added two more in the third. Reagan Lavina went 2-for-3 with a run scored and Payton Cushman ended up going 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.

That was all the support Morgen Talley needed.

The sophomore ace threw a three-hit shutout with four strikeouts.