OCOEE — The Foundation Academy Lions scored the program's first district championship with an emphatic 12-1 win over the host CFCA Eagles in the Class 2A District 4 Final on Thursday afternoon.
It was a triumphant moment for the Lions (15-4), even though they had comfortably defeated CFCA (7-12) twice before this season. In spite of being favored, Foundation has struggled with the Eagles in the past — including a season-ending loss to CFCA in 2014 — so the Lions took nothing for granted until they were hoisting the district championship trophy.
“Our eighth grade year, we were expected to win, too — and we lost to (CFCA). Every year, they have beat us," said Leah Williams, a senior who has been with the program since she was in sixth grade. “It means a lot to me, especially because it’s my senior year and we finally won a district."
Williams had a hit and a pair of RBI at the plate for the Lions, while teammate Stevi Ames — a senior who has also been with the program since she was in sixth grade — picked up the complete game victory on the mound for Foundation while also driving 3 RBI. Haliegh Graziotti also had 2 RBI for the Lions.
Finishing as 2A-4 runner-up, CFCA will travel in its regional quarterfinal matchup to take on the champion from 2A-3.
Foundation will host the runner-up in 2A-3 — but not before it lets its milestone victory soak in just a little more.
“We’ve had good teams in the past, there’s no doubt about that," head coach Randy Ames recalled. "We kind of fell down a couple of times but this time we had the team and we had the heart. These girls have been working hard and they really improved their game all season long.
“It did mean a lot, it really did. It kind of took the monkey off our back," he added. "We do have our sights set a little higher than this — but this was a key game for us here."