DUNEDIN — The Sebring Blue Streaks brought out the lumber in routing Dunedin by a score of 15-1 in Wednesday’s Class 6A-Region 3 quarterfinal game.
The dominating mercy-rule victory improved Sebring to 21-2 on the season and puts the Blue Streaks in Tueesday night’s regional semifinals against district rival Lake Wales.
“It was a good game for us,” said Sebring Coach Joe Sinness. “This is our first regional game win in my 11 years as coach. We have made it to regionals a few times but never made it past the first round. Dunedin’s pitcher caught us with a little off-speed. She throws a little bit slower than we are used to. It took us a couple innings to not be overly aggressive. Once we sat back on the ball we were just fine.”
Sebring claimed the lead in the top of the third inning. Johneisha Rowe grounded to left field for a single and Emily Bible ripped an RBI double to centerfield. Bible advanced on a ground out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jade Sinness.
Alyssa Perez followed with a triple and Layla Taylor hit a sacrifice fly to left field to plate Perez to give the Blue Streaks a 3-0 lead.
Dunedin scored a run in the top of the third inning, but that would be the highlight of the game for the Falcons.
Sebring’s bats came to life in the top of the fourth as Kiara Delgado singled and Jacee Turner came in to run for Delgado. Rowe singled and Bible bunted for a base hit to load the bases.
Sinness hit a sacrifice fly to left driving home Turner. Rowe and Bible advanced on a wild pitch and Taylor smacked a run-scoring hit to left field.
McKinley Carver singled in another run and Adrianna Dubois produced a run with a single. Emily White hit a grounder to shortstop who threw the ball away for an error. Makenzie Ferryman then singled in a pair of runs and Rowe was hit by the ball which loaded the bases once again. Bible drew a walk to force in a run.
Sinness then smoked a bases-clearing triple to right field. Carver scored Sinness with a hit to give the Blue Streaks a commanding 15-1 lead.
Sebring pitcher Maci Barnhart earned the mercy-rule win with five innings of one-run ball. The junior allowed only one hit and struck out nine batters to help the Blue Streaks reach the regional semifinals.
“I think we played as a team tonight, which we haven’t been doing much lately,” said Layla Taylor. “I think our bats came alive this game. We have never been this far and it’s great. We have to keep practicing and get ready for Lake Wales.”
Sebring, which beat Lake Wales twice in the regular season, will have a chance to extract some revenge against the Highlanders after losing to them in last week’s district championship game by a score of 8-0.
Lake Wales beat Tarpon Springs by a score of 10-0 in Wednesday’s regional quarterfinal.
“It’s a blast making it this far,” Coach Sinness said. “The girls are doing well and enjoying the moment we are in right now. We play Lake Wales in the semifinals. They are a very good team. We were able to beat them a couple of times during the season and that will be our focus now.”