High school softball ‘22: Dozen area teams take aim at 3rd round

The Baldwin softball team is one of 12 local schools in action in the state playoffs on Tuesday night. (Kevin Talley, News4JAX)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The second round of the high school softball state playoffs are Tuesday night. A glance at those games, all of which begin at 7 p.m. unless indicated.

Tuesday’s games

Regional semifinals

Region 1-7A

Apopka (18-7) at Oakleaf (16-7)

Road here: Apopka d. West Port, 13-3; Oakleaf d. Creekside, 6-2.

Winner gets: Lake Brantley or Hagerty in the regional final on Friday. Oakleaf would travel to Lake Brantley but host Hagerty.

Region glance: The Knights have won four straight entering this one and have prepared for this stretch with a challenging regular season schedule. Mariyah Sanchez (.481, 3 HR, 27 RBI), Ciara Gibson (.468, 3 HR, 18 RBI) and Khloe Banks (.413, 4 HR, 27 RBI) give this offense some bite. A win here would send Oakleaf and first-year coach Heather Han to the regional finals for the first time since 2019.

Region 1-5A

Gainesville (13-13) at Middleburg (16-11)

Road here: Gainesville d. Milton, 12-2; Middleburg d. Vanguard, 10-0.

Winner gets: Lincoln or Gulf Breeze in the regional final on Friday. Middleburg would travel to Lincoln but host Gulf Breeze.

Region glance: Coach Ashley Houston’s team scheduled tough in the regular season and swapped wins and losses with the area’s best all year. Gainesville and Middleburg tend to have tough battles on the softball field (two one-run games and a three-run game last season). Mallory Forrester gives the Broncos an edge in any game. In two appearances against the Purple Hurricanes last year, she gave up a combined six hits and whiffed 29. Forrester struck out eight and faced one batter above the minimum in a no-hit playoff opener. Kaelyn Hagan (.379, 2 HR, 18 RBI) and Belle Mincey (.375, 14 RBI) lead the Broncos at the plate.

Region 1-4A

Clay (15-11) at Wakulla (15-9)

Road here: Clay d. Baker County, 4-1; Wakulla d. Yulee, 5-2.

Winner gets: West Florida or Paxon in the regional final on Friday. Clay would travel to face either.

Paxon (13-10) at West Florida (15-10)

Road here: Paxon d. Matanzas, 7-1; West Florida d. Bishop Kenny, 4-3 (17 innings).

Winner gets: Clay or Wakulla in the regional final on Friday. Paxon would host Clay but travel to Wakulla.

Region glance: Clay bounced the region’s top seed in the opener, sparked by a 3-for-4 game by Sydney Davis (.475, 3 HR). The Blue Devils have been very good under coach Matt Lewis in producing once they get to the postseason. Of Clay’s 17 trips to the playoffs, they’ve won at least one game in 10 of those. Gabrielle Ellis (.421) follows Davis at the plate and is the team’s top arm. … Underclassmen Mackenzie Pitzer (.449), Kennedy Waymer (.397) and Ava Farnham (.386) give the Golden Eagles a good glimpse at the future for Paxon. But they’re pretty good now, too. Among the nine hits Paxon collected in its playoff opener, only one was delivered by a senior. They’ll have to navigate a tough West Florida pitcher in Sydney Scapin who whiffed 37 in 16.1 innings of a 17-inning win over Bishop Kenny in the opener.

Region 1-3A

Florida High (21-3) at Baldwin (24-2)

Road here: Florida High d. North Bay Haven; Baldwin d. Episcopal, 2-1.

Winner gets: Providence or Keystone Heights in the regional final on Friday. Baldwin would host either.

Keystone Heights (18-9) at Providence (19-6)

Road here: Providence d. Marianna, 6-1; Keystone d. West Nassau, 7-4.

Winner gets: Baldwin or Florida High in the regional final on Friday. Both would travel to face Baldwin and both would host Florida High.

Region glance: A very tough local region with arguably the game of the night between the Indians and Stallions. Emma Rogel (.455, 17 RBI) and Kiley Channell (.410, 28 RBI) have helped lead Keystone to five consecutive wins. Can they keep that streak going on the road at Providence, which enters on a 10-game winning streak? The Stallions have Ella Roberson (.447, 5 HR, 23 RBI) and Zoe Yaeger (.431, 6 HR, 25 RBI) fronting a deep offense that has seven players hitting .300 or better. … Baldwin has been the area’s No. 1 team all season, but the road is never easy in the postseason. Episcopal pushed the Indians in the opener, but Baldwin remains the area’s most resilient team. Cali Hartung (.403, 3 HR), Jazmine Ramos-Merced (.375, 2 HR, 22 RBI) and Kendall North (.371) lead Baldwin, which has never been past the second round.

Region 1-2A

St. Johns CD (13-4) at Trinity Christian (13-8)

Road here: St. Johns CD d. Peniel, 5-1; Trinity d. Munroe, 15-0.

Winner gets: UC or Aucilla Christian in the regional finals on Friday. Trinity would host either.

Aucilla Christian (16-5) vs. University Christian (16-8), at Victoria Park, 6:30 p.m.

Road here: UC d. Wakulla Christian, 15-0; Aucilla d. North Florida Christian, 4-0.

Winner gets: St. Johns CD or Trinity in the regional finals on Friday. UC would host St. Johns but travel to face Trinity.

Region glance: Trinity and UC have been on a collision course all season and stand just a win away from making that happen. Hannah Rivers (.429, 17 RBI) and Breezy Burnett (.373, 2 HR) lead the Trinity offense. Carolyn Lasater has a 2.20 ERA in the circle. Megan Jeffers (.610) and Veronica Flynn (.526) power the Spartans. … UC is led by the wrecking ball that is Sophia Kardatzke (.585, 15 HR, 47 RBI), Jaleigha Harris (.379) and Kate Dell Alba (.358), all sophomores. They led UC to the state title game a year ago.

Regional final

Region 3-1A

Union County (18-5) at Fort White (14-7)

Road here: Union d. Madison County, 10-6; Fort White d. Lafayette, 3-1.

Winner gets: A spot in the state semifinals on Tuesday at Legends Field in Clermont. Teams will be reseeded after the regional finals.

Glance: The rubber match of the season between the teams, with Union having won 2-1 in the season opener and the Indians winning 4-1 in early April. Kadence Compton (.382, 2 HR) and Madison Brown (.360, 13 RBI) power the Indians, while Angela Tucker (.493) and Tamia Young (.433) lead Union.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.