Central Florida saw its hopes for a postseason berth dismissed on Saturday with a 1-0 loss at Daytona State. The Patriots recovered to end their Mid-Florida Conference season with an emphatic 9-4 victory in the second half of the doubleheader.
In a strange end to its season, CF started the first game with Daytona on Tuesday. It was suspended due to inclement weather, then resumed Saturday in the bottom of the sixth inning. In the meantime, the MFC standings fell into place, leaving the Patriots just a doubleheader sweep away from a tie with Lake-Sumter for the conference's fifth and final FCCAA State Tournament spot. Had they pulled even, the postseason slot would have been decided with a single-game playoff.
But fate had other plans for CF on Saturday, as Daytona scored the go-ahead run in the sixth, held serve in the top of the seventh and ended the Patriots' playoff hopes just minutes after the teams stepped on the field.
The CF loss clinched the fifth spot for Lake-Sumter, which will join Santa Fe, FSC-Jacksonville, Seminole State and Daytona in the postseason.
The dejected Patriots responded with a cathartic MFC finale, unleashing 7 first-inning runs in a second-game rout. Jessica Chewning delivered a run with a bases-loaded single, then Jennifer Hunter was hit by a pitch to drive home another. Heather Porter cleared the still-loaded bases with a grand slam, her first career home run. Megan Still, the team's ace pitcher, followed in a designated-hitter role and made it back-to-back with her own first career homer, a solo shot to left field. Kylie Ondriezek plated Chewning with a fifth-inning double, and Katie Hayes smashed a seventh-inning solo home run to complete the CF onslaught. Jessica Knight pitched all 7 innings to earn the win.