BROOKSVILLE- The Hernando Leopards softball team has been one of the most dominant clubs when it comes down to postseason play in these Class 3A state playoffs.
On Wednesday, May 25, the Leopards took their show on the road to Legends Field over in Clermont when they faced Coral Springs Charter (23-3) in a Class 3A state semifinal. Hernando came away with the win, beating CSC 3-1. Now they are set to play in the state championship at Legend’s Way Ballfield, Thursday at 7 pm.
When you talk about a team dominating opponents as Hernando has, you start to look deeper into the numbers.
Hernando (25-4) has faced The Villages, Windermere Prep, and Bushnell South Sumter in these playoffs and has out-scored the competition 30-1 on its way to states (prior to the state semi-final). The Leopards have had one of the most potent lineups all season long in Hernando County and the bats have come alive perfectly at the right time.
Leading the way at the plate for the Leopards is junior Hannah Taylor, who is batting a team-high .506 with 51 runs batted in, 16 doubles, and six home runs. All those totals for Taylor lead the team, but she is not alone when it comes to hitting well this 2022 season. She is joined by senior Jadyn Wright (.467 average, 22 RBIs), senior Hannah Lynch (.426 average, 25 RBIs), and junior Tiarra Edwards (.476 average, 25 RBIs).
On the mound, Hernando has been led by sophomore Ava Braswell, who has been nothing less than stellar for the Leopards. Braswell has a record of 14-2 and an earned run average of 1.40. She has struck out 96 batters through 100 innings pitched. She is joined by junior Savannah Ellis, who has a record of 10-2 with an earned run average of 2.33 and has struck out 71 batters so far.
In the state semi-final, The Leopards went up against a Coral Springs team that was coming off a 2-1 victory over Miami Somerset Academy Silver Palms in the region final. The Panthers definitely have some players that can hit the long ball, as they have 22 home runs as a team compared to Hernando’s 10. Leading the way at the plate for Coral Springs was sophomore Stephanie Basso, who has a batting average of .384 with 31 runs batted in and six home runs.
Coral Springs sent out to the mound Brianna Godfrey, who is a Marshall signee, and prior to the semifinal, has an earned run average of 0.59, 19-3 record, and has struck out 232 batters with 13 complete games under her belt through 119 innings pitched.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.