Seven Lakewood Ranch High seniors walked off the field for the final time May 10, bringing an end to their prep softball careers, which included four district championships, two regional championships and two Final Four appearances.
For the second-consecutive season, the Lakewood Ranch softball team saw its season come to an end in the Class 6A state semifinals.
After a rain delay that lasted more than an hour, the Lady Mustangs fell to eventual state champion Columbia (Lake City) 7-1, at the Vero Beach Sports Village.
“First and foremost, I hurt for the seniors,” coach Tony Cummins says. “I guarantee you this was not what their expectation was. This was not where they thought it would end. Probably, what I’m feeling most is for the seven who worked so hard all year.”
A pair of errors in the first inning resulted in two Columbia runs. Trailing 3-0 after the top of the first inning, Lakewood’s McKaleigh Goodale reached first on an error and eventually came around to score on Amber Wimmer’s single to cut the deficit to 3-1. But that would be as close as the Lady Mustangs would come, because Columbia added four more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Sophomore pitcher Amanda Rak was charged with seven runs, three of which were earned, and struck out five. Lakewood finished with seven hits — all of which were singles.
But with Rak, Jackie Schoff, Sierra Schappacher and Talli Sharp, who all were in last Friday’s starting lineup, returning next season, along with Maddie Biggs, Caitlin Brown and Crystal Brown, who also saw playing time throughout the season, and a strong crop of incoming freshman, the future looks bright for the Lady Mustangs.
“We have a great core of kids coming,” Cummins says. “We’ve got more building to do. We’ve got more growing to do. Hopefully, we will be back here again next year.”