Trenton softball coach Todd Bryant

Trenton softball coach Todd Bryant speaking about his team's state championship last week on The Prep Zone sports show on 106.9 "I Am Country." 

The class finalists for the 2021 Florida Dairy Farmers Miss Softball and Softball Coach of the Year have been announced following balloting by a statewide panel of high school softball coaches and prep media representatives.

Trenton pitcher Darian Ingram took home Class 1A Player of the Year honors, while her coach, Trenton's Todd Bryant, finished his final year at the helm as the Class 1A Coach of the Year.

Ingram posted a 0.61 ERA and struck out 232 batters in 114 innings. The Florida Atlantic University signee struck out 17 Branford batters In the state semifinals and finished with 13 strikeouts In the state championship game against Jay.

She threw eight no-hitters this season, capping off a career that saw her lost just one game in the past three years.

"Darian was the most dominating player in 1A," Bryant said. "She took the pressure off of our offense by limiting the opponent, and that allowed us to play for just a few runs each game."

She also helped her own cause with a .440 batting average.

"This was the first year we allowed her to hit," Bryant said. "In the past our offense was good enough to keep her out of the batting order. We needed her to hit this year and she responded by hitting over .400 in the 4-hole."

Darian Ingram

Darian Ingram

Ingram had three hits in the state championship game, as well as striking out 30 in the last two games. While Bryant felt she was the best overall player In Class 1A, there was one other player who deserved the same kind of recognition.

"I think we need to mention how important Keeli Zingaro’s bat was to our team and that she is certainly the best hitter in 1A," Bryant said of the Stetson signee who hit 11 home runs this season. "The POY award is for the best player, and I wish there was an award for the best pitcher and another for the best player. There isn’t—so Darian is by far the most dominating player in 1A."

Bryant was recognized as the 1A Coach of the Year after winning back-to-back state titles. In six years, he has posted a 120-8 record with two state titles (2019 and 2021) and a state runner-up finish in 2018.

"For me the Coach of the Year award is certainly not as important as winning the state championship," Bryant said. "The award just means that I did my job—along with the tremendous work that the rest of our coaching staff did. I only get this award because of what the players and other coaches were able to accomplish."

A pivotal point in the season came just before the playoffs started when the Tigers got catcher Lillian Wilkerson back from injury.

"That was huge for us," Bryant said. "She made Darian so much better with her presence behind the plate."

Bryant, who announced his retirement following the Tigers' state title, has a 57-1 record the past three years.

"I’m proud of what we have been able to do this year because a lot of teams didn’t think we had the gas to finish the job," he said. "Our kids believed in what we taught, and they rose to the occasion. We made history again."

Every finalist was the leading vote-getter in their classification, making each one the Player of the Year or Coach of the Year in their classes. The two overall winners will be announced following a final round of balloting by coaches and media. The winners will be announced on Tuesday, June 8.

Following are the Miss Softball Award finalists:

Cassidy McLellan, Sophomore, Outfielder, Lakewood Ranch, Class 7A Player of the Year

McLellan helped her team to the state title by hitting for a .542 average with 15 doubles, six triples, nine home runs, 59 runs scored and 42 RBI.

Alyssa Zabala, Junior, Pitcher, Doral Academy, Class 6A Player of the Year

Zabala helped her team to the state title with a 23-2 record. She had an 0.78 ERA in 144 innings pitched with 193 strikeouts and 40 walks.

Julia Knowler, Sophomore, Pitcher, Fort Myers, Class 5A Player of the Year 

Led her squad to the state title with a 14-2 record and a 1.46 ERA in 96 innings pitched with 117 strikeouts and 15 walks. She also posted a .582 batting average with 10 doubles, six triples, eight home runs, 39 runs scored and 39 RBI.

Libby Levendoski, Sophomore, Pitcher, Eustis, Class 4A Player of the Year

Levendoski helped her team to the state title with a 23-1 record. She had an 0.46 ERA in 152 innings pitched with 286 strikeouts and 15 walks.

Rachael Petrarca, Senior, Shortstop, Academy of Holy Names, Class 3A Player of the Year

Petrarca helped her team to the state title by posting a .481 batting average with seven doubles, four triples and four home runs while scoring 32 runs. She had a .963 fielding percentage and made only three errors. She has signed with Providence College 

Morgen Talley, 8th Grader, Infielder, Canterbury, Class 2A Player of the Year 

Talley helped her team to the state title by posting a .404 batting average with five doubles, 15 home runs, 37 runs scored and 44 RBI.

Darian Ingram, Senior, Pitcher, Trenton, Class 1A Player of the Year 

The 2019 Class 1A Player of the Year led her team to its second straight state title with an 20-1 record. She threw eight no-hitters while posting an 0.61 ERA and striking out 232 batters in 114 innings. She also had a .440 batting average. She has signed with Florida Atlantic University.

Following are the Softball Coach of the Year finalists:

T.J. Goelz, Lakewood Ranch, Class 7A Coach of the Year

Led his squad to a 30-2 record and the state title. In four years he has posted a 92-8 record with a final four appearance in 2018 and a state runner-up finish in 2019. 

Willie Viruet, Doral Academy, Class 6A Coach of the Year

Posted a 29-2 record on the way to the state championship. In four years he has posted a 72-18 record.

Johnny Manetta, Fort Myers, Class 5A Coach of the Year

Led his squad to a 20-6 record and the state title. In 11 years he has posted a 207-55 record with four straight final four appearances and another state title in 2017.

Brittany Beall, Eustis, Class 4A Coach of the Year

Led her squad to a 27-1 record and the school’s first state title. In 11 years she has posted a 186-66 record with a state runner-up finish in 2017. 

Jeff Krone, Academy of Holy Names, Class 3A Coach of the Year

Led his squad to a 19-5 record and the state title. In two years as head coach he has posted a 27-7 record.

Jody Moore, Canterbury, Class 2A Coach of the Year

Led her team to a 23-9 record and the state title. In 16 years at Canterbury, she has posted a 319-121 record with five state titles and five other Final Four appearances.

Todd Bryant, Trenton, Class 1A Coach of the Year

Led his squad to a 20-1 record and its second straight state championship. In six years he has posted a 120-8 record with two state titles (2019 and 2021) and a state runnerup finish in 2018. Including a 10-0 record in the Covid-19 shortened 2020 season, he has a 57-1 record the past three years.

Final voting numbers by class listed below:

Class 7A

Player                   School              Points      Coach                School                Points

Cassidy McLellan  Lakewood Ranch  124        T.J. Goelz             Lakewood Ranch    221

Aminah Vega        University           104        Joe DellaRocca     Park Vista              93

Tyrina Jones         Park Vista            75         Kenny Walters      University              80

Class 6A

Player                    School                Points      Coach              School               Points

Alyssa Zabala          Doral Academy     136          Willie Viruet     Doral Academy      208

Taylor Krapf             Winter Springs      91          Farrah Gordon   Winter Springs      104

Kassandra Machado  Doral Academy     84           Scott Bisbe       Mitchell                 54


Class 5A

Player                    School              Points       Coach                School              Points

Julia Knowler           Fort Myers          108          Johnny Manetta   Fort Myers          195

Brooke Blankenship  River Ridge         89           Mitch Wilkins       Land O’ Lakes     128

Nehanda Lewis         Land O’ Lakes     78           Enrique Eligio       Pace                   45


Class 4A

Player                  School                Points     Coach                  School            Points

Libby Levendoski   Eustis                   161        Brittany Beall        Eustis               177

Brittany Michael    Ridgeview              108        Kevin Bittinger      Hernando          109

Emily Legette        American Heritage  62         Casey Thompson   Ridgeview          57


Class 3A

Player                School                            Points   Coach            School              Points

Rachael Petrarca  Academy of Holy Names 104       Jeff Krone      Academy of H.N.  197

Maddie Latta        Episcopal                         93        Wes Pollock    Windermere        102

Gracie Wallace     Windermere Prep              81        Kasse Eppley   Episcopal            54

Class 2A

Player                 School                    Points    Coach               School                 Points

Morgen Talley       Canterbury               121      Jody Moore         Canterbury             220

Sophia Kardatzke  University Christian   92      Casey Jarvis     Westminster Academy 107

Olivia Elliott         Cambridge Christian  78       Josh Swearingen  Mt. Dora Christian      68


Class 1A

Player             School              Points    Coach                    School            Points

Darian Ingram  Trenton               185       Todd Bryant            Trenton             224

Haley Guffey     Wewahitchka      121       Brian Watson           Jay                   125

Caitlyn Gavin     Jay                      74        Justin Smith            Wewahitchka      57


Sports Director for Mainstreet Daily News

Mike Ridaught is sports director for Mainstreet Daily News. Mike hosts a weekly high school sports show at Sonic Drive-In and does play-by-play for a Game-of-the Week on 106.9 FM “I am Country.”

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