High school softball ‘22: UC-Trinity Christian rematch highlights Friday’s 3rd round playoff games

Seven area high school softball teams are seeking berths in the state semifinals. (Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images) (Robertus Pudyanto, 2019 Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The high school softball state playoffs are spread over two nights this week, with state semifinal berths on the line. A glance at Friday and Saturday’s games.

Friday’s games

Region 1-4A

Clay (16-11) at West Florida (16-10), 7 p.m.

Road here: Clay d. Baker County, 4-1; d. Wakulla, 3-1; West Florida d. Bishop Kenny, 4-3 (17 innings); d. Paxon, 4-0.

Winner gets: A spot in the state semifinals on May 26 in Clermont. Opponents will be set using MaxPreps rankings points following the regional finals.

Glance: The eighth-seeded Blue Devils look to continue their stellar run in the postseason with a trip to the Panhandle to face the Jaguars. Clay’s last trip to the state semifinals in 2018 included a 5-1 win over West Florida in the regional final to get there. Sydney Davis (.470, 3 HR, 29 RBI), Gabrielle Ellis (.414) and Gabrielle Wiseman (.341) lead Clay at the plate and go up against West Florida ace Sydney Scapin. In every appearance of four innings or more, Scapin has recorded 10 or more Ks. She’s whiffed 52 batters in two playoff games, including 37 in the playoff opener against Bishop Kenny. A win would put Clay in the state semifinals for the third time under longtime coach Matt Lewis. The Blue Devils play on a night where their graduation is being held. Five seniors on the Clay roster have to decide whether to play in the game or walk at graduation.

Region 1-2A

University Christian (17-8) at Trinity Christian (14-8), 5 p.m.

Road here: UC d. Wakulla Christian, 15-0; d. Aucilla Christian, 11-0; Trinity d. Quincy Munroe, 15-0; d. St. Johns Country Day, 8-0.

Winner gets: A spot in the state semifinals on May 24 in Clermont. Opponents will be set using MaxPreps rankings points following the regional finals.

Glance: A rematch a year in the making. UC belted Trinity 11-5 in last year’s regional finals en route to a state runner-up finish. The Christians are back and mostly intact from last year’s second-place squad. Sophia Kardatzke (.565, 15 HR, 49 RBI, 45 R) has a case as the area’s best player. Not only can she knock the cover off the ball, Kardatzke has been dominant in the pitching circle (17-7, 1.04 ERA, 229 Ks in 120.2 IP). She’s carded back-to-back playoff no-hitters. As a team, UC has no-hit five of its last six opponents. Jaleigha Harris (.377, 25 RBI) and Macie Bourgholtzer (.371) follow Kardatzke at the plate. Trinity ups the competition level though and is the most challenging opponent UC seen in roughly a month. The Conquerors, led by Hannah Rivers (.403), Breezy Burnett (.381) and Carolyn Lasater (.365), have been prepared for this matchup ever since last season ended. Trinity, which won the Class 4A crown in 2019, is the last area team to have won a state title.

Saturday’s game

Region 1-7A

Oakleaf (17-7) at Lake Brantley (23-4), 11 a.m.

Road here: Oakleaf d. Creekside, 6-2; d. Apopka, 5-4; Lake Brantley d. Lake Mary, 8-0; d. Hagerty, 8-0.

Winner gets: A spot in the state semifinals on May 27 in Clermont. Opponents will be set using MaxPreps rankings points following the regional finals.

Glance: Mariyah Sanchez (.481, 3 HR, 27 RBI) and Khloe Banks (.418, 4 HR, 28 RBI) had a pair of hits for Oakleaf in their big win over Apopka in the last round. Ciara Gibson (.462, 3 HR, 20 RBI) had a couple hits and RBIs in the playoff opening win over Creekside. Those three have buoyed the Oakleaf offense all season. The Knights are in search of their fifth state semifinal berth since 2015. It would be their first under coach Heather Han. The Patriots enter on an 11-game winning streak and are in search of their first state final four berth. This game was pushed to Saturday morning at the last second due to expected inclement weather in the area.

Regional final schedule

Thursday’s games

Region 1-5A

Middleburg 2, Lincoln 1

Region 1-3A

Baldwin 3, Keystone Heights (2

Friday’s schedule

Region 1-4A

Clay (16-11) at West Florida (16-10)

Region 1-2A

University Christian (17-8) at Trinity Christian (14-8), 5 p.m.

Saturday’s game

Region 1-7A

Oakleaf (17-7) at Lake Brantley (23-4), 11 a.m.


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.