Miami Herald (Sunday)

Coral Springs Charter seeks first state title in five years


It’s been five years since Coral Springs Charter won a state championsh­ip in softball.

And that drought must seem like an eternity for a team that right before that won five consecutiv­e state titles.

The Panthers are hoping this is the year the trend reverses in their favor.

Coral Springs Charter, which put together the longest run of consecutiv­e state championsh­ips in state history by a softball program from South Florida from 2015 to 2019, returns a lineup replete with Division-I recruits.

But Charter will face two challenges on a potential road back to state.

One is the loss to injury of junior ace Sophia Bertorelli, the Miami Herald’s 5A-2A Pitcher of the Year, who won 17 games last year, struck out 199 and compiled a 0.54 ERA.

Coral Springs Charter coach Mark Montimurro thinks Bertorelli will be back for the postseason, but in the meantime the Panthers will depend largely on freshman Courtney Wahlbrink in the pitching circle.

The other challenge is defending Class 3A state runner-up Somerset Silver Palms, which ousted the Panthers from the playoffs in the regional finals last season, and returns most of its roster intact.

“We have a very solid team overall returning most of the roster that went 25-1-2 last year,” Montimurro said. “Sadly we will be without Sophia, and Courtney will be thrust into the limelight to help continue the tradition of success we’ve got going. She is very capable and will have to dominate if we’re to reach our ultimate goal.

Wahlbrink will be backed up by one of the most potent lineups in the state.

Junior second baseman Addi Michel, a Boston University commit, leads the group along with junior third baseman Heather Robertson. Senior catcher Stephanie Basso, the MVP of last year’s Big 8 tournament and Coastal Carolina commit, is also back, as is senior outfielder Kate Maston, a Florida Gulf Coast commit, senior outfielder Alivia Taibl, a Stetson commit, and senior infielder Kayliegh Cuccia, a Pensacola State commit.

But the biggest addition was already on Coral Springs Charter’s roster.

The Panthers get sophomore catcher/third baseman Gio Gurgel back after she missed all of last season with a knee injury.


Western is coming off a season that ended in disappoint­ing fashion with a 2-1 loss to Boca Raton Spanish River in the Class 7A regional quarterfin­als.

The Wildcats’ roster is loaded once again with seven seniors and several players already committed to colleges. Western hopes to return to the state final four, which would mark its third trip since winning a state championsh­ip in 2018.

Senior outfielder­s Arlette Caravaca (Iowa commit) and Alana Cypress (Bethune Cookman commit) lead a potent lineup along with senior third baseman Jade Castillo (Austin Peay State commit) and junior shortstop Danae Falquez (Florida Gulf Coast commit), a transfer from Nova. Junior pitcher Ali Solo, who went 17-4 last year with 2.03 ERA, will likely set the tone for the team’s success.


Two teams that could make noise in their respective classifica­tions figure to be West Broward in Class 7A and Pembroke Pines Somerset Academy in Class 4A.

West Broward returns one of the county’s top pitchers in senior Gabrielle Cruz and will be complement­ed by a strong lineup led by junior infielder Alivia Artanis and junior corner infielder/catcher Victoria Hardy.

Somerset went 11-12 last season advanced to the regional semifinals.

Coach Amanda Lopez’s squad will be led by freshman shortstop Victoria Carmona, sophomore outfielder Leah Rutherford, a transfer from Pines Charter, and a strong core of sophomores: Caitlyn Diaz, Katie Bailey, Keira Carbone, Amber Munoz and Emily Munoz.

For complete teamby-team season outlooks, go to the online version of this article at www.miamiheral­


Feb. 19: Regular season begins; April 4-6: Kissimmee Klassic; April 11-13: Junior Orange Bowl; April 27: Regular season ends; April 29-May 2: Districts; May 8: 4A-2A regional quarterfin­als; May 9: 7A-5A regional quarterfin­als; May 14: Regional semifinals; May 17: Regional finals; May 20-25: State championsh­ips at Clermont.

Andre C. Fernandez: @FernandezA­ndreC

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