West Orange softball holds off Olympia for district title | Observer Preps
Julia Sniffen admits she's never quite come to bat in a moment like the one she found herself in during the FHSAA Class 9A, District 3 Softball Championship.
Sniffen, a senior for the West Orange Warriors, stepped up to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. West Orange was tied with rival Olympia, 4-4, and the bases were loaded. A hit would go a long way toward securing a district title — and an out would leave the door wide-open for an upset by the Titans, who had already upset Apopka earlier in the week.
Though Olympia threatened in the top of the seventh, the Warriors held on for a 7-4 victory — and the program's fourth consecutive district championship.
"I was scared out of my mind," Sniffen said, recalling her final at-bat. "It really felt great off the bat. (Coach) Kelsey (LaNeave) was keeping me calm from (the third-base box) and Lexi Mosur, who was on deck, was keeping me calm. ... Everyone gets loud, but it's really just like any other at-bat — you just have to put it in play."
For her part, LaNeave wasn't surprised to see the senior catcher come through for the Warriors in a big moment.
"(Sniffen has) been squaring the ball up pretty much all season," LaNeave said. "She was due and it couldn't have come at a more perfect time."
The game opened with West Orange (20-7) taking an early 2-0 lead in the third, but the Titans struck right back with a four-run top of the fourth. Trailing 4-2, the Warriors got a pair of runs back in the fifth to tie the game, setting the stage for the dramatic finish.
Three pitchers for West Orange took the mound, with Landry Newgent starting and Riley Fromberg and Lauren Evans pitching in relief. Fromberg was credited with the win and Evans the save.
For Olympia, Caryssa Orland pitched four innings before being relieved by Megan Wilder. Cameryn Orland and Larissa Rodriguez each had RBIs for the Titans.
Both teams advance to the regional playoffs next week, where they will align with District 9A-4 in the opening two rounds. As district champs, the Warriors will host the loser of a the district final April 27 between Dr. Phillips and Lake Nona — as runner-up, Olympia will travel to take on whichever team wins.