VERO BEACH The West Orange softball team came up short in its attempt to win a historic third-straight state championship, falling to Davie's Western High 7-0 in the FHSAA Class 9A State Final Thursday afternoon.
The Warriors (24-8), who compiled just four hits and left eight runners on base, were unable to solve the riddle of Western pitcher Jada Oleski.
"Any balls that we hit, they weren't really squared up," West Orange coach Todd LaNeave said. "(Oleski) was doing a good job of mixing it up — she threw a great game."
Senior pitcher Landry Newgent got the start for West Orange, with sophomore Riley Fromberg coming on in relief in the fourth inning. Newgent returned to pitch the seventh inning.
The Warriors' best chance at closing the gap against the Wildcats came in the bottom of the fifth when — trailing 5-0 at the time — they loaded the bases with one out. A pop out and a ground out closed the door on that opportunity, and West Orange would not threaten again.
Despite the loss, the Warriors' appearance in the state final caps an impressive season that saw the team overcome significant adversity — from having several players injured and unavailable to play early in the season, to navigating a month without head coach Todd LaNeave, who suffered a heart attack in March.
"This season will certainly be remembered for a lot of things," LaNeave said. "To be standing here after a state final, I'm speechless — this group was phenomenal this year, to be able to make a run like that."