ALTAMONTE SPRINGS The West Orange softball team has booked its ninth consecutive trip to the regional playoffs following an 11-1 defeat of rival Olympia in the semifinals of the District 9A-3 Tournament.
An RBI double by Marissa Sidwell in the top of the first got the Titans on the board Wednesday night, but that would be the only run — and hit — Olympia would record against the Warriors' Lauren Mathis. West Orange (24-1) responded with six runs in the bottom half of the inning and never looked back.
"I thought, in every part of the game, we played really well," head coach Todd LaNeave said. "We got hit in the mouth early — (Olympia) got that one run but we responded with six in the bottom of that inning and we just never let up. Lauren threw a heck of a game tonight."
With the win, West Orange earned a place in Friday's district championship at 7 p.m. against Lake Brantley on the Patriots' home field — and a place in the FHSAA Class 9A Regional Playoffs.
Sam Golden led West Orange at the plate and got the scoring started for the Warriors. The standout shortstop drove in four runs on two doubles.
"(Golden has) been really stroking the ball well and squaring it up," LaNeave said.
It was the third time in the Warriors' past five games that they had won by 10 or more runs. With the offense coming together, LaNeave says he has been pleasantly surprised by his team's ability to put up runs after anticipating more of a small-ball approach at the season's outset.
"They proved me wrong a little bit — we have a little bit of everything," LaNeave said. "We've stole, probably, 75 bases this year. We're laying bunts now, moving runners over and being real aggressive on the bases — and coming up with some huge hits. It's all coming together right now."
Olympia completed its season with a 16-9-1 record.
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].