West Orange softball falls short in regional final, ending season
| 9:05 a.m. May 7, 2015
WINTER GARDEN — It was a game no one deserved to lose, but in the end, the West Orange Warriors’ season came to an end in the Class 8A Region 1 final May 1 against Hagerty in extra innings, 2-1.
The battle of the then-No. 1 and No. 3 teams in the state in Class 8A lived up to the hype, as fans in Winter Garden were treated to eight innings of exciting action.
“That was one of those games that it could just turn at any point on any given play,” Warriors head coach Todd LaNeave said. “(The girls) battled, and they stuck with it and just came up on the short end.”
West Orange pitcher Lauren Mathis found herself in a pitchers’ duel with Hagerty’s Samantha Worrell, a USF signee who, outside of a solo home run by freshman Lexie Blair, was dominant for most of the night.
“I thought we had some really good at-bats against (Worrell), and the girls knew what they were getting into with her; they had a good approach,” LaNeave said. “We did hit some balls well and, unfortunately, what happens at times, (is) some of the better-hit balls are hit right at people.”
The Huskies scored the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth, when Worrell’s younger sister, Ashley, homered. The solo shot was originally caught after Warriors center-fielder Jade Caraway covered a remarkable amount of ground to make the catch, just as the ball appeared set to clear the wall in left-center field but lost control on impact with the fence.
It was an unfortunate twist of fate after what had been an impressive effort just to be in position to have a shot at making the play.
“I think most center fielders aren’t even going to get to that ball,” LaNeave said.
West Orange finished its 2015 campaign with a 28-2 record and a district championship to its credit.
Although the Warriors came up short of their ultimate goal, it was another remarkable season in the program’s storied history — and one of which the school and the community can be proud.
“When they look back at it — it might make a few days, weeks, whatever — but I think when they look back, they’re going to appreciate the season that they had,” LaNeave said. “It’s going to take time. It’s hard when it comes to an end like it does.”
West Orange will say goodbye to seniors (college in parentheses): Sabrina Stutsman (Florida State), Kelsey Morrison (Tennessee), Alex Paulson (North Carolina), Amanda Nikhazy (Daytona State), Kendall Arcia (Daytona State) and Kori Peterson (Warner).
Meet the Warriors
The 2015 West Orange Warriors softball team includes:
Kalie Romig, Amanda Fleming, Kelsey Morrison, Lexie Blair, Grace Spitulski, Madison Hynes, Sam Moore, Lauren Mathis, Amanda Nikhazy, Kori Peterson, Alex Paulson, Taylor VanArsdol, Kendall Arcia, Sabrina Stutsman, Sam Golden, Jade Caraway, Maggie Wheless