HHS’ Shenefield deals 44th career bagel as Leopards blank Hornets, 4-0

Ali Shenefield gathers a pop fly.                                                                                                 Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

SOFTBALL

Dowdell, Lamp, Genberg,

Townsend each crack 2

hits pacing 11-hit attack

By TONY CASTRO

HernandoSport.com

For years, the state’s private schools – namely Tampa-Jesuit, Orlando-Bishop Moore, Orlando-Lake Highland Prep – have feasted on public schools.

In softball, that tendency was muted recently when Nature Coast Technical ousted always-tough Bishop Moore in back-to-back seasons during 2016-17.

On Wednesday night at Orange County’s Lake Fairview Park, the trend continued when Hernando Leopards (25-3) eliminated Class 5A, District 8 champion Bishop Moore (18-9), 4-0.

Meanwhile in East Pasco County, Wesley Chapel-Cypress Creek (15-8) turned back Pierson-Taylor Middle/High School, 6-4.

Wesley Chapel-Cypress Creek Coyotes

With the Coyotes’ win, Cypress Creek will host the Leopards in a rematch of the 5A-7 finals at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 14.

Tuesday night’s survivor will clash with the winner of Alachua-Santa Fe at Eustis for next Friday’s Class 5A, Region II championship.

Only the regional champs advance to the Class 5A FHSAA State Finals in Vero Beach.

Shenefield rules

Against the Hornets, Hernando High senior right-hander Ali Shenefield produced her county record 17th shutout of the season.

Ali Shenefield

In the 5-foot-4 right-hander’s 44th career bagel, the brunette yielded two singles among the 25 batters she faced.

In all, the future Division-I Rollins College hurler issued one walk and fanned 14, improving to 23-3 overall and 76-19 lifetime.

The Leopard defense that committed five errors in 5A-7 title game loss to Cypress Creek, returned to its old form committing one error behind Shenefield.

The Leopards, who had not previously won a game after striking 10 or more times, survived 10 punchouts against senior Riley Oakes.

Offensively, the Purple and Gold accumulated a game-high 11 hits.

Taliyah Dowdell

Senior Madyson Lamp, junior Taliyah Dowdell, sophomore Olivia Townsend and freshman Solaris Genberg each rapped two hits for the victors.

Recapping the scoring

Hernando opened the scoring with a run in the third inning.

Junior Hayden Kimbrough led off with a single to right.

Hayden Kimbrough

Frosh Hannah Lynch, who arrived hitting .385, coaxed a walk.

Shenefield, who entered hitting .494, grounded into a fielder’s choice erasing Kimbrough at third.

Dowdell legged out a bunt single to load the sacks.

Genberg followed with an RBI single to left – driving in Lynch for her 23rd RBI of the season, 1-0.

Solaris Genberg

In the fifth, the Purple and Gold tacked on two tallies.

Shenefield singled up the middle.

With one out, Genberg legged out an infield single.

Lamp singled to left knocking in her 40th RBI of the season.

Townsend reached on a bunt single scoring Genberg, 3-0.

OliviaTownsend

In the sixth, HHS added a run.

Kimbrough opened the frame with a leadoff walk.

Lynch sacrificed her to second base.

Shenefield’s fielder’s choice advanced Kimbrough to third.

With two outs, Dowdell punched an RBI single to right plating Kimbrough, driving in her county-leading 42nd run of the season, 4-0.

Coaches’ corner

Fourteenth-year HHS mentor Kevin Bittinger explained that everything starts in the circle with Shenefield.

Kevin Bittinger

“Ali had a typical Ali performance. She came out attacking the zone and had great command. How good? To only three batters did she throw three balls to all night.”

Bittinger was most encouraged by the return of his defense that made more errors in one game than they had in nearly five weeks of action.

“We dropped one fly ball – that’s it,” stressed Bittinger. “Defensively, we stepped up. I remember Genberg making a nice running catch behind third base, (Alyssa) Forte making two plays at shortstop and Taliyah did her usual great job of controlling things behind the plate.”

Looking back, “We had one bad game. But these kids are resilient. We heard the whispers. Is this team through? I think we proved we’ve got plenty left in the tank.

“Now, we struck out ten times, but those were to legit, quality pitcher. We did a good job of getting runners on, and we bunted extremely well. Let’s just say the girls are looking forward to playing Cypress Creek again next week.”

2019 Road to The Show

Class 5A, District 7 Girls Softball Tournament at Brooksville’s Tom Varn Park

04-29:

Quarterfinals

Hernando – bye

NCT 11, Hudson-Fivay 0 (4.5 Innings)

04-30:

Quarterfinals

Hudson 15, Central 0 (3.5)

Cypress Creek 16, Gulf 1 (4.5)

05-01:

Semifinals

Cypress Creek 8, NCT 3

Hernando 9, Hudson 1

05-02:

Championship

Cypress Creek 7, Hernando 5

05-08:

Class 5A, Region II Quarterfinals

Wesley Chapel-Cypress Creek 6, Pierson-Taylor 4

Brooksville-Hernando 4, Orlando-Bishop Moore 0

Alachua-Santa Fe 11, Bushnell-South Sumter 0

Eustis 1, Palatka 0

05-14:

Class 5A, Region II Semifinals

Brooksville-Hernando at Wesley Chapel-Cypress Creek, 7 p.m.

Alachua-Santa Fe at Eustis, 7 p.m.

Hernando 4,

Orlando-Bishop Moore Catholic 0

 1  2

3

4

5

6

7

R

H

ER

LOB

HER

0

0

1

0

2

1

0

4

11

1

8

BMC

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

4

HER – Shenefield and Dowdell.

BMC – Oakes and Spitulski.

W – Shenefield (23-3). L – Oakes..

2B – HER: Dowdell.

Records – Hernando (1-0 tourney, 25-3 overall), Bishop Moore Catholic (0-1 tourney, 18-9 overall).

 

 

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