SARASOTA -- It's indisputable now: Cardinal Mooney has too many hitters for Bradenton Christian.
Spurred by the bottom of their order, the Cougars pounded out 10 hits and made the Panthers pay for four errors on their way to a 7-3 victory on Friday in the Class 3A-Region 3 softball semifinal.
It was Cardinal Mooney's fourth victory over district rival BCS this season. The Cougars scored eight runs in each of the other victories.
On Friday, No. 8 hitter Kayla Scofield went 3-for-3 to lead the attack. It was her line drive single to right field in the bottom of the fourth inning that scored Jill Kaspar and Nicole Russomanno to give the Cougars (17-8) the lead for good.
"Everybody throughout the order has come so far, and our team is just so strong offensively now as compared to the beginning of the season," said Scofield, a junior leftfielder.
Six of the hits and five of the runs scored came from the bottom half of the Cardinal Mooney order. Kaspar, Russomanno and Kerry Traeger each had a hit. Kaspar and Russomanno scored two runs apiece. No. 3 hitter Kaitlyn Casey also had two hits.
"It was a total team effort. We spend a lot of time working with our hitting," Cardinal Mooney head coach Don Congdon said. "The kids have taken to it. They believe in it."
The victory sends the Cougars to the region final for the first time since 2001, when they lost in the state final. They will host West Palm Beach King's Academy at 7 p.m. Tuesday for a trip to the state final four.
Sophomore pitcher Natalie Maglich pitched a complete game for the Cougars, allowing five hits, striking out 10 and walking six.
Bradenton Christian bows out at 12-12. The Panthers scored first in the top of the first when Hailey Dearlove and Rachel Brown walked and moved up on a wild pitch. They both came around to score on a passed ball when the ball eluded Maglich as she tried to cover the plate.
BCS still led 2-1 entering the bottom of the fourth. After Dearlove, the Panthers' pitcher, retired the first batter, Kaspar singled to left, Russomanno reached on an error and both moved up on another error. Scofield's frozen rope to right gave Mooney a 3-2 lead. Traeger later knocked in Scofield to make it 4-2.
In the fifth inning, Cardinal Mooney took advantage of two BCS errors with two outs to put three more runs on the board and close the book on the Panthers.
Lily DeVirgilis led BCS with two hits.
BCS head coach Gene Brown said the Panthers had a successful season. He has a special attachment to the senior class: Star player Rachel Brown is his daughter. The Panthers also will miss starters Lizzi Judge and Madison Putnam.
"This senior class has really propeled this program to that next level," Gene Brown said. "Twelve and 12 is an OK record. As I've said all season to the girls, we've played a very tough schedule. ... We wanted to play teams that challenged us. Our record may not indicate how good we are."
"Obviously losing this senior class, especially one of them ... is going to be tough. But next year when I come back and coach these girls, it's going to be fun because we've got something started here."