Gulf Coast finishes third
Updated Apr 11, 2017 at 10:05 PM
By The News Herald
NICEVILLE — Gulf Coast and Northwest Florida already have clinched berths in the state softball tournament later this month in Vero Beach.
With that in mind, their doubleheader on Tuesday at the Raiders’ complex was mostly for momentum and seeding purposes. Northwest Florida held serve in that regard, guaranteeing it will finish in second place in the Panhandle Conference, regardless of what transpires on Thursday when the final conference games are played.
Gulf Coast, 27-20, 8-10, will be the league’s No. 3 team. The Raiders are 40-12, 13-5 following Tuesday’s convincing doubleheader sweep 9-4 and 9-1.
Northwest Florida won the second game in five innings, a four-run third inning breaking it open when Gulf Coast walked in three straight runs.
Brittany Lee was the losing pitcher. Tori Robinson had an RBI single in the third, then Lee walked Samantha Kummer and Danielle Gomez to force in runs. Peyton Carpenter relieved and walked Kristan Lizardi to make it 5-0.
Winning pitcher Louis Disi cruised into the fifth with a 7-0 lead when the Lady Commodores scored their lone run. Bailey Burk had two hits for Gulf Coast with Samantha Burks, Annsley Brown and Sirdy Marchozzi also hitting safely.
The Lady Raiders ended the game with two runs in the bottom of the fifth.
The Lady Commodores juggled their lineup in Game 1 with regular third baseman Kynadi Tipler moving behind the plate and also from the No. 3 slot in the batting order to leadoff. Baileigh Heineman, who caught last year but had been playing right field of late moved to third base and Burks opened in right field.
Tipler did her part by starting the game with a double and walking in the third inning, but Gulf Coast couldn’t juggle the pitchers’ circle and the Lady Raiders made them pay. Mariana Pereira had two of seven hits in the second inning and drove in two of Northwest Florida’s seven runs that basically decided that outcome.
Lady Commodores starter Kristina Manthei gave up four consecutive hits, including a two-run double by Gomez before being relieved by Carpenter with nobody out. Carpenter fared little better, and Pereira’s two-run single completed the carnage.
Northwest Florida starter Dharma Rosbrugh yielded seven hits, but the outcome basically was decided in the second inning. The Lady Raiders led 9-0 before Gulf Coast responded with three runs in its fourth. Carpenter, Marchozzi and Burks all singled to begin the rally and two runs scored as Jenna Ewing reached on an error.
Tipler moved back to third base and Heineman took over as catcher when Manthei returned to the circle in the fourth inning. Northwest went in order in the fourth and fifth, but Gulf Coast didn’t respond until Marchozzi drilled a solo home run in the sixth. Manthei retired seven consecutive batters before allowing two harmless singles in the bottom of the sixth, one of them Pereira’s third hit of the game.
Gulf Coast will end its conference schedule with a doubleheader at league champion Chipola on Thursday. Chipola downed Pensacola 3-0 on Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader that not only clinched first place, but gave Tallahassee fourth place and the final state tournament berth.