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Southwest Orange Wednesday, Apr. 25, 2018 2 years ago

Upset launches Olympia softball into district final, regional playoffs | Observer Preps

A day after barely surviving a district play-in game against fifth-seeded Wekiva, the Titans knocked off top-seeded and state-ranked Apopka in the District 9A-3 Semifinals.
by: Steven Ryzewski Senior Sports Editor

One day, the Olympia softball team was staring down the end of its season, trailing as it entered its final at-bat against Wekiva — the fifth-seeded team in the FHSAA Class 9A, District 3 Tournament.

Caryssa Orland hit a three-run home run in the third inning against Apopka. Archive photo.

The next day, the fourth-seeded Titans (14-10) were knocking off Apopka, the district's top seed and Miracle Sports' fourth-ranked team in the state in Class 9A.

It was a wild two-day ride for Olympia, which — after rallying for the 3-2 victory over the Mustangs April 23 — defeated the Blue Darters 6-1 in the district semifinals April 24 to earn a place in Thursday's district final.

In doing so, it also earned a trip to the regional playoffs for the third time in program history.

“They were off-the-charts excited (after beating Apopka)," Olympia head coach Hank Largin said. “We got Lake Brantley, Apopka, Wekiva and West Orange in our district and we’re going to regionals — that has to say something about what we’ve accomplished."

The Titans had been shutout by Apopka in the teams' last meeting March 28 and had squandered an opportunity to score in the first inning with bases-loaded Tuesday, fueling some early anxiety. 

When Caryssa Orland hit a three-run home run in the third inning, though, it changed the tone of the game and invigorated the Titans' offense.

“All of a sudden we’d finally broken through," Largin said.

From there, Megan Wilder finished the job on the mound — Wilder allowed just four hits and one run while earning the complete-game win.

"(Apopka) had trouble squaring up the ball against (Wilder)," Largin said. "She was in command the whole way."

Of course, that game almost didn't happen, as the Titans were nearly upset a day earlier by Wekiva.

Olympia catcher Madi Wilder hit a walk-off single April 23 to lift the Titans past Wekiva in the first game of the district tournament.

Trailing 2-1 with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Casey Heinle doubled in the tying run for Olympia. One pitch later, Madi Wilder — the starting catcher for the Titans and Megan Wilder's younger sister — singled to left to drive in a run for the walk-off victory.

The pair of victories mean Olympia will face No. 3 seed West Orange at 7 p.m April 26 in the district final, with both teams advancing to the regional quarterfinals next week.

As a program, the Titans have advanced to regionals just twice before — in 2013 and 2015.

Steven Ryzewski was the Senior Sports Editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and Southwest Orange Observer....

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