Prep softball | Bayshore Bruins win three-day region semifinal with late rally

Bayshore softball rallies, plays for first trip to state Friday

jlembo@bradenton.comMay 2, 2013 

TAMPA -- Three days.

Two postponements.

One big rally.

Add it up, and Bayshore's softball team had one memorable victory.

The Bruins defeated Tampa Blake 8-7 on Thursday in a Class 5A-Region 3 semifinal that took three days to complete. They will host Lake Wales at 7 p.m. Friday in the Region 3 championship game.

Suspended after half an inning Tuesday and two more on Wednesday, the game resumed in the fourth inning just before noon Thursday and ended roughly an hour later.

Bayshore's season, however, will continue. And the Bruins (17-7) are a win away from their first state softball semifinal.

It couldn't have come in crazier fashion.

"It's well worth it. Traveling up here three days in a row, back to back to back," Bayshore coach Frank Luther said, "I was like, 'We better win.'"

The game resumed Thursday with the scored tied at 6 in the bottom of the third, and the Yellowjackets (12-11) wasted little time taking the lead when Vicki Bailey singled, went to second on an error and scored on Haley Roath's double.

Bayshore loaded the bases with none out in the fourth but came away empty after Marina Clark lined into a double play and Ashley Perry grounded out.

Then came another bizarre twist: Blake loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth but also didn't dent the scoreboard, thanks in part to Perry. The sophomore shortstop came into relieve Brianna Potts, who walked and hit the first two batters of the inning.

Perry hit her first hitter, as well, but retired the next three on a flyout and two groundouts. She left the bases loaded in the sixth, as well, a clutch bit of pitching considering Bayshore had its 3-4-5 hitters up in the seventh.

"I wasn't nervous at all. I knew my team would come through," Perry said. "We're a very scrappy team, and I knew we were going to do it."

Clark led off the seventh with a double and went to third on Perry's sacrifice bunt. Taylor Izatt followed with another bunt, and Clark just beat Blake pitcher's Amanda Weather throw home. Izatt advanced to second on the throw and wound up scoring the game-winning run when Kassidy Clifford's grounder slipped under Bailey's glove at second.

"That was exactly what I told them -- 'If we could keep (the deficit) at one, we can score one,'" Luther said. "We just had to get out of that inning and then we'll put up runs. And then I said, 'If we take the lead, we're going to win it.'"

Luther proved prophetic. Perry allowed a two-out single to Weather but retired Marissa Hernandez on a groundout, leading to a brief but loud team celebration near Bayshore's dugout.

Next up: Lake Wales (17-10), another regional finalist who made it as a district runner-up.

The winner heads to Vero Beach next week for the Class 5A state final four.

"It's amazing," Luther said.

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