The Munroe Lady Cats softball team was not the better team all season.
They knew it, their coaches knew it, everyone at the Aucilla softball field knew it. There had been no indications, otherwise.
Munroe had been defeated by Aucilla Christian in all three meetings this season by a combined score of 30-2 with two games called for the mercy-rule.
So, even if they weren't the better team all season, they were the better team between the hours of 3:00 – 5:00 last Tuesday in Aucilla and that’s all they needed to upset the state second-ranked Aucilla Christian Warriors by a 6-3 score.
Freshman pitcher Jeri Sloan gave up only five hits and held Aucilla scoreless until the sixth inning. Timely hits by Kaitlyn Sirmons (3 for 4), Mary Pat Thomas and Ramsey Higdon (one RBI each) plus a terrific bunt by Kay Fletcher propelled the team to a stunning 5-0 lead after five innings and put Aucilla on their heels, where the Warriors played tight softball, hit popups and made uncommon defensive errors.
Defensively, Munroe played errorless softball with the two biggest plays being a line drive double play by shortstop Sirmons in the fourth inning and a difficult, rally-ending catch by centerfielder Ramsey Higdon in the sixth. Higdon, running to her left, ended Aucilla’s biggest threat in the sixth when Aucilla scored all three runs.
The win sent Munroe, identical to their 2012 road trek to the state championship tournament, on the road to north Tampa to face Academy at the Lake for the chance to advance to the 2A semifinals in Vero Beach on Friday.
LADY BOBCATS FALL TO ACADEMY AT THE LAKE
The Munroe softball team played errorless softball to upset district rival Aucilla Christian last week and earn a berth in the regional finals for Region 1 – 2A against Academy at the Lakes. Those errors they avoided against Aucilla found them in Wesley Chapel and doomed Munroe from a repeat trip to the state finals. AATL scored nine runs, but only three were earned runs.
The Munroe team jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the top of the first off of aggressive base running and miscues by AATL. They held this lead until AATL pushed two runs across in the third inning off an error on a pop-up down the right field line.
Munroe could not score in their top of the fourth and entered the bottom of the fourth with a slim 3-2 lead. It was in this inning that a combination of Academy hits, walks and errors pushed five runs across and gave Academy a 7-3 lead going into the sixth inning.
Munroe scattered four hits with Kaitlyn Sirmons finishing her final game with two hits and two scored runs. The other two hits came from singles by Mary Pat Thomas and Anna Jones. Both girls also scored one run apiece.
Academy at the Lake finished with five hits, three walks and four strikeouts at the hands of Munroe pitcher Jeri Sloan.
Munroe was able to score Kaitlyn Sirmons in the sixth but was unable to push across any more runs the rest of the game. Academy added one run in the bottom of the sixth and held on for the 9-4 win.
Munroe ended its season with a 13-10 record and returns all players next year with the exception of shortstop Kaitlyn Sirmons.