Back-to-back: Windermere Little League 12U softball wins second consecutive state championship

The Windermere Little League 12U softball team swept the competition at the state tournament this past weekend, winning the state title and advancing to the Southeast Regional in Warner Robins, Ga.

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  • | 2:30 p.m. July 25, 2016
The Windermere Little League softball team is all smiles after beating Fort Myers in the state championship game.
The Windermere Little League softball team is all smiles after beating Fort Myers in the state championship game.
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The 12U Softball All-Star team for Windermere Little League had advanced to the Southeast Regional tournament in Warner Robins, Ga. — again.

This year’s team — which includes four members who were a part of the 2015 team that won the state title in Rockledge — swept through the competition at the state tournament, going 4-0 on the weekend and outscoring opponents 40-5.

Windermere (8-0) rallied past Fort Myers in the state championship game July 24 after trailing early, winning by a final of 7-4 for its closest result of its run thus far. 

Before that, the girls set the tone for pool play, within which they outscored opponents 33-1, by scoring a resounding 11-1 victory over Land O’Lakes on the first day of competition July 22.

“That first game was everything,” head coach Ken Janata said. “We figured that was the most important thing, to get that (first win) under our belt.”

The next day, Windermere topped Palm Bay 12-0 and a team representing Bayshore, West Tampa and Palma Ceia Little Leagues 10-0. The victories set the stage for the showdown against Fort Myers — a game that required the girls to adapt to the unfamiliar scenario of falling behind early.

“They’re very experienced girls,” Janata said. “They’ve been in that situation before — and they responded.”

On the mound, Lexi Scalzo and Jada Novoa did the majority of the work for the team, with the duo pairing up in the state championship to score the big victory. At the plate, Windermere capitalized on a dynamic lineup that includes hitters with a myriad of strengths.

“We do a great job of having power hitters, situational hitters and we have speedsters,” Janata said. “There are teams that are one-dimensional and we are unlike that — I think that’s what makes us successful.”

Janata and assistant coach Greg Scalzo also helped coach the 2015 team that won state and advanced to Georgia, where it went 1-2 in pool play. This year, the WLL staff — which also includes Rick Evans and Bill Labonowski — is optimistic that the team will be better prepared for the Southeast Regional thanks to that added experience.

“Last year, we went up there and I think we were in a little bit of an awe,” Janata said. “It’s almost like a Super Bowl — it’s an unbelievable experience.”

And, while the girls themselves have been the stars on the field, the parents for Windermere are once again and stepping up to do their part — including midweek travel to Georgia on Wednesday.

“The commitment, on their part, is unbelievable,” Janata said. “It’s a big, huge commitment on the parents’ part.”

Windermere will begin play July 28 at 2 p.m. against Western/Vine Ingle Little League — the state champion from Georgia. 

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Other results

Windermere Little League was represented at state tournaments around Florida this past weekend by three teams in total, with the 12U and 14U baseball teams competing in addition to the state champion softball team.

Both baseball teams finished 1-2 in pool play and both teams also won their first respective game. The 12U All-Stars topped Plant City 10-8 to open play July 22 and the 14U All-Stars topped Lake Wales 6-3 to open play July 23. 

Though neither team advanced out of pool play, each represented the local community well.


Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].


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