The catchphrase in softball this season was parity. Graduation. Transfers. Depth. Talent. It was all supposed to foster equality throughout the state.
Of the seven classifications in softball, five were crowning new champions after a series of upsets during the postseason (Deltona played in Thursday’s 5A final).
But in Class 3A, where Calvary Christian was the defending champion, it was play, win, repeat.
The Warriors, despite having a target as the top team, showed their efficiency by cruising to their second straight title with 3-0 win over Miami Somerset Academy in Thursday’s championship game.
Calvary Christian, which opened as a high school 23 years ago, has been rendered the hub of spring sports in the area. The softball team has won back-to-back titles, adding to the giddiness of the nationally-renowned baseball program winning its first title since 2019 this past weekend.
Only Canterbury, with five titles, and Palm Harbor University, with three, own more area state softball titles than the Warriors, who are tied with four other programs (Academy at the Lakes, Admiral Farragut, Chamberlain and Seminole Presbyterian) at two apiece.
Calvary Christian also becomes just the sixth local program to ever repeat as champions.
Winning consecutive titles is a difficult task. Injuries. Illness. Complacency. Even a better opponent. There are a number of factors that can cause a team to stumble in the postseason.
And there were plenty of obstacles for the Warriors to overcome. They graduated three players. Another transferred.
But Calvary Christian was able to take solace in knowing it still had Morgen Talley – on the mound and at the plate.
Talley already had two straight titles (the first one came as an eighth-grader with Canterbury in 2021).
Now a sophomore, Talley helped the Warriors overcome a 2-5 stretch midway through this year. After that slump, Calvary Christian went on to win its final 10 games of the season.
In Tuesday’s semifinals, Talley ignited a rally by hitting a three-run homer to lift the Warriors to a 7-4 victory over Baldwin.
On Thursday, she once again did her part, throwing a shutout with 10 strikeouts and driving in two of Calvary Christian’s three runs.
But the Warriors, forged by versatile players with high softball IQ’s, had plenty of others who contributed to this title. Twice, the Warriors’ Ava Planeta tagged runners at home, thwarting any potential scoring opportunities – and momentum – for Somerset Academy.
Planeta also came through on offense with an RBI sacrifice fly. And Cameron Power came up with a highlight-worthy catch in the outfield.
It all added to the legacy of program that now ranks among the area’s best ever.
Twice as nice
Calvary Christian became just the sixth area softball program to ever repeat as state champions. Here is the list.
|Team||Years as champion|
|Academy at the Lakes||2018-19|
|Palm Harbor University||2004-05|