The high school softball state semifinals begin Tuesday in Clermont and continue throughout the week.
The area has five teams competing, with Fort White (Class 1A), University Christian (2A), Baldwin (3A), Clay (4A) and Middleburg (5A) all heading there. A glance at UC’s matchup.
Class 2A state semifinal
University Christian (18-8) vs. Oxbridge Academy (23-1-1)
Where: Legends Way Ball Fields, Clermont, 5 p.m.
Road here: UC d. Wakulla Christian, 15-0; d. Aucilla Christian, 11-0; d. Trinity Christian, 3-1; Oxbridge d. Marathon, 11-0; d. John Carroll Catholic, 5-0; d. Faith Christian, 9-1.
Winner gets: First Academy or Evangelical Christian in the state championship on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Glance: The Christians have become a force in the postseason reaching the state semifinals in back-to-back seasons, as well as 2019. There’s a good chance that UC would have gone in 2020, too, if the latter half of the year wasn’t wiped out due to the pandemic. UC reached the state championship game last year and lost to Canterbury, 3-1. Sophomore Sophia Kardatzke may be the area’s best all-around player. She’s hitting .563 with 15 HR and 50 RBI. In the circle, Kardatzke has whiffed 242 in 127.2 IP and has a stout ERA (1.04). UC will go as Kardatzke can carry it, but she’s got help, too, much of it from underclassmen. Macie Bourgholzter (.378), Jaleigha Harris (.361, 25 RBI) and Kate Dell’Alba (.352) lead a UC parade filled with younger players who are poised to keep this lineup rolling well past this season.