Sophomore catcher Alyssa Price hit a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game and helped propel the Sarasota High softball team to a 2-1 nine-inning victory over Braden River in the Class 7A-Region 3 semifinals April 30.
“It’s unbelievable,” Price says. “This is the best moment in the world. You can’t get much better than this.”
Scoreless through the first five innings, Braden River ace Courtney Mirabella hit a single with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning. Two batters later, senior Hannah Loyer hit an RBI triple to give the Lady Pirates a 1-0 lead.
Price tied the game in the top of the seventh inning with two outs and a 3-2 count.
“I knew I definitely burnt the outfielder, but because of how high it went I was like ‘Is it going over?’” Price says. “And then when it went over I was ecstatic. I can’t even tell you how happy I was.”
Braden River responded in the bottom of the seventh inning on singles by Alyssa Patneaude and Brittany Cole, but Patneaude was called out sliding into home plate to end the inning.
After a 30-minute weather delay in the top of the ninth inning with runners at the corners, Sarasota freshman Sarah Beth Wengerd hit a sacrifice bunt to drive in the go-ahead run.
“Sometimes you need a little bit of luck and that’s something we didn’t get tonight,” Braden River coach Erin Spivey says.
With the win, Sarasota will face the winner of the other regional semifinal between Tampa Chamberlin and Tampa Freedom in the regional finals May 3. That semifinal will resume today after being halted last night due to inclement weather.
Last night’s loss was the final game in a Braden River uniform for six seniors, including Mirabella, who finished with 12 strikeouts.
“What they’ve done here is unprecedented,” Spivey says of her seniors. “Courtney holds just about every possible record one could have in pitching and Hannah’s right behind her.”
For a complete story and photos from last night’s game, pick up the May 9 issue of the East County and Sarasota Observer.
Contact Jen Blanco at [email protected].