Softball regional tournaments begin Wednesday

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the Trenton-Hawthorne game, which was moved to Wednesday night, and Santa Fe-North Bay Haven Academy, which was moved back to Thursday.

Most of the area softball teams are in action on Thursday, but one local team will suit up on Wednesday night.

Santa Fe High School (Alachua) is on the road for the Class 3A state playoffs. 

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The Lady Raiders (12-9), who lost at home to Marianna in last week’s 3A-District 2 championship game, will travel to North Bay Haven Academy (14-12) in Panama City on Thursday.

The winner will face either Marianna or Walton (Defuniak Springs) in next Tuesday’s regional semifinals.

The area’s best chance for a state champion is likely in Class 1A.

Trenton (16-1) has been ranked No. 1 all season in the Miracle Sports state softball poll, despite the fact they were the No. 2 seed in District 7 behind Dixie County (Cross City).

However, the Tigers defeated the Bears (19-2), 4-2, in last week’s district championship game.

“It’s evident that Dixie County is a very good team and one of the best in 1A in the state,” said Trenton coach Todd Bryant. “It’s a shame that one of us won’t make the final four because we both deserve to be there.”

Trenton will host Hawthorne in Wednesday’s regional semifinals (moved up due to the threat of rain on Thursday). Dixie County will travel to Williston on Thursday. The winners will play in Tuesday’s regional final for the right to go to Clermont and the state semifinals.

“For us, great pitching and timely hitting have been the key to our success,” Bryant said. “Darian Ingram (FAU signee) has done a great job again this year keeping us in every game she has pitched in.”

Stetson signee Keeli Zingaro, who had the game-winning 2-run home run against the Bears in the top of the 7th inning, is batting over .500 this season.

“Zingaro and Adrian Ingram continue to swing the bat well,” Bryant said. “Getting Lillian Wilkerson back behind the plate has helped Darian to get more strike calls and Lillian definitely helps control the running game.” 

Hawthorne (12-2) was the No. 1 seed in District 8, but the Hornets lost at home to No. 3 seed Williston, 23-0, in three innings in the district championship game.

“We have to get past Hawthorne first, but next week we will need another quality outing from Darian to make it to Clermont,” Bryant said.

Williston defeated No. 3 Fort Meade, 8-3, on the road in the district semifinals. That clinched a postseason spot for the Red Devils (8-14).

“I knew coming into the season we would have a few challenges and bumps along the way after losing six seniors and the strength of schedule we would play,” said Williston coach Lavar Williams. “The Ladies are finally seeing the fruits of their labor from all of their hard work and trust and it’s paying off. They are trusting the process and trusting each other.”

Williston is facing a tough challenge after losing to Dixie County, 13-0, on April 20. The Bears are ranked second in the state.

“It will take all 13 ladies working at one goal,” Williams said. “That goal is to win each inning with the bats and make 21 outs on defense with limited errors.”

Union County (Lake Butler) (12-8) will host Taylor County (Perry) (17-8) in another regional semifinal. The winner will play the winner of the Branford-Hilliard game in next week’s region final.

And in Class 5A, Gainesville (18-6) will be at home on Thursday thanks to a 2-1 win against Middleburg in last week’s 5A-District 3 championship.

“Middleburg is a good team and we played two tight games with them in the regular season that could have gone either way,” said Gainesville coach Chris Chronister. “We knew we would have to pitch and play good defense to get the win. We did that, Charlotte Sims pitched great and it came down to a play at the plate for the final out to get the win.”

Addison Joseph had a great game at the plate for the Hurricanes with a solo home run and she drove in both runs in the game.

GHS will host Matanzas (Palm Coast) in Thursday’s regional quarterfinals. The Pirates (11-9) lost to Deltona, 5-4, in extra innings in the District 4 championship game.

“I expect them to be solid,” Chronister said. “We will have to play good defense again and get production from the entire lineup. It would be nice to get a couple runs early in the game.”

Regional Quarterfinals

Thursday, May 6

Class 3A – Santa Fe (Alachua) at North Bay Haven Academy (Panama City), 7 p.m.

Regional Semifinals – Class 1A

Wednesday, May 5

Class 1A – Hawthorne at Trenton, 7 p.m.

Regional Quarterfinals

Thursday, May 6

Class 6A – Matanzas (Palm Coast) at Gainesville, 7 p.m.

Regional Semifinals – Class 1A

Thursday, May 6

Taylor County (Perry) at Union County (Lake Butler), 7 p.m.

Hilliard at Branford, 7 p.m.

Dixie County (Cross City) at Williston, 7 p.m.

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