Her­itage win away from re­peat­ing as champs

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - SPORTS - By Carl Ko­tala Cor­re­spon­dent

VERO BEACH — Amer­i­can Her­itage got some solid pitch­ing from Ju­lia Grob­man and Olivia Saviskas on Fri­day.

The Pa­tri­ots got some big hits too from Syd­ney Grob­man, Jor­dyn Griffith and Brooke Langston.

But per­haps the big­gest rea­sons why Amer­i­can Her­itage is on the brink of back-to-back state ti­tles is be­cause of the pres­sure the Plan­ta­tion team put on Ponte Vedra’s de­fense dur­ing Fri­day’s 11-3 win in the Florida Class 6A soft­ball semi­fi­nals at His­toric Dodger­town.

The Pa­tri­ots (25-3) will face Land O’Lakes for the state cham­pi­onship Satur­day at 12:35 p.m. Land O’Lakes de­feated North Fort My­ers 2-0 in Fri­day’s other 6A semi­fi­nal.

Amer­i­can Her­itage, look­ing for its eighth state ti­tle un­der coach Marty Cooper, will no doubt use the same kind of ag­gres­sive base run­ning that worked so well Fri­day when Ponte Vedra com­mit­ted six er­rors.

“We try to play a re­ally fast style,” Cooper said. “We prac­tice run­ning the bases all the time. We try to cre­ate con­fu­sion. I’ve al­ways be­lieved it’s not the team that hits the best, it’s the team that makes the most mis­takes that loses.

“We try to force mis­takes, and for­tu­nately to­day it worked out.”

That­was never more ev­i­dent than the third in­ning when the Pa­tri­ots scored seven runs on three hits and five er­rors.

Syd­ney Grob­man had an RBI sin­gle in the in­ning and af­ter get­ting out in her next cou­ple of at-bats, made some ad­just­ments and came back at Ponte Vedra with a two-run dou­ble.

“I was rolling over and pulling the ball, so I just had to go to the right side,” Grob­man said. “That’s what we fo­cused on this year, try­ing to take the ball the other way. I think that helps us a lot, es­pe­cially when the pitches aren’t as fast aswe’re used to.”

Grob­man would fin­ish the day 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Griffith also had two hits and drove in two.

Langston had a scored twice and also two runs.

Hannah Si­pos had a dou­ble and scored twice. Fel­low ju­nior Marisa Soter­akis added an RBI dou­ble. dou­ble, drove in

Af­ter tak­ing a 8-0 lead, the Pa­tri­ots saw Ponte Vedra score three times in the fifth in­ning, prompt­ing Cooper to re­place start­ing pitcher Ju­lia Grob­man with sopho­more left-han­der Amelia Saviskas to help close things out.

“It was nice change of pace be­cause Ju­lia throws pretty hard,” Cooper said. “She throws like 62-64 miles-an-hour. Then the lefty came in and she’s a lit­tle more off-speed andwe got them off bal­ance.”

Now the Pa­tri­ots are a win away from an­other state ti­tle.

“We’ve worked re­ally, re­ally hard this year,” Syd­ney Grob­man said.

“I think this is the most well­rounded team we’ve ever had and we’re all work­ing to­gether andwe’re more as a fam­ily than we’ve ever been.”

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