Through 5-plus innings Wednesday, the Fort Myers softball team had yet to solve Naples’ pitcher Sydney Tulin.
With the score knotted at one heading to the bottom of the sixth, head coach Johnny Manetta wanted base runners with his lineup hitting for the third time against Tulin. His team responded with a seven-hit, seven-run barrage to advance to the Region 7A-3 semifinals with an 8-1 victory.
“We just wanted to get some people on base to make things happen. It snowballed into a huge inning and it came at the best possible time. I’m so proud of my girls.” Manetta said.
With Maria Angelino reaching on a bunt single and Riley Ludlam reaching on another bunt attempt, senior Molly Duignan stepped up to attempt to drop another bunt down. After two unsuccessful tries, she ripped a screamer past the third baseman to break the deadlock.
“I was really disappointed to not get those bunts down because we work on it so much. Fortunately, I got a good pitch to hit down in the count 0-2 and it worked out great.” Duignan said.
Two batters later, Jessica Wilson launched a towering three-run blast left off the scoreboard in left field to make no doubt that the Green Wave (20-6) were advancing to play next Tuesday against Friday’s Gulf Coast-Charlotte winner.
Emily Hendry gave the Green Wave a quality start in the circle, striking out six batters in her four innings of work. Hannah Perkins came on in the fifth and was equally impressive, striking out five in her three scoreless frames.
“We’ve got a great mix of five seniors with sophomores and freshmen contributing everywhere for us. It was a great team effort and it’s exciting to still be playing next week, Manetta said.