Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

State softball: Seniors come through for Palm Harbor University

VERO BEACH — On the three-hour trip to Historic Dodgertown, Palm Harbor University's players watched a 15-minute video compilation of former Hurricane standouts who offered their congratulations.

This year's team is full of sophomores who were just out of diapers when PHU last won a state title in 2005.

Lost in this influx of youth was a group of seniors — Jada Radecki, Taylor Scott, Bailey Wilson — who helped keep the Hurricanes double their win total from last season and become state title contenders.

Those three also were the difference in Friday's 1-0 win over Jupiter in the 9A state semifinals.

Radecki was 2-for-3 and scored the winning run in the sixth inning. Bailey was 2-for-3 and had the winning hit that brought home Radecki. Scott pitched a four-hit shutout and had seven strikeouts.

Palm Harbor University (29-2), which has won 16 straight, faces defending champion Winter Park West Orange in the championship.

"It was great to have the seniors come through the way they did," Hurricanes coach Kerry Katchuk said.

Radecki entered the program three years ago with only Little League experience and batting right-handed. The coaching staff turned her into a left-handed slap hitter.

On Friday, she had a pair of singles, the last in the sixth inning that led to the winning run.

Scott and Wilson are best friends who have been playing softball together since they were 6 years old.

Scott, a North Florida commit, is usually not a pitcher. She became one for PHU only because the team needed one.

Not just a pitcher but an ace.

In four postseason games, Scott has allowed just one run.

But Scott deflects any praise.

"Everyone filled their role," she said. "They cheered loudly throughout the game. The defense was great. There were no errors. It was an all-around effort."

Wilson has started all four years. She has been stellar at shortstop and has a knack for timely hits. On Friday, she had a double in the second inning for the team's first hit and the winning single that floated over the shortstop's glove in the sixth.

"It's exciting," Wilson said. "I've never been in something like this yet and for it to be my senior is just overwhelming."

The Hurricanes are ranked eighth overall in the state by MaxPreps. Still, Katchuk said his team will be an underdog in the final. West Orange is 27-3 and ranked seventh overall by MaxPreps. The Warriors beat Miami Palmetto 11-0 in the other semi.

"Palm Harbor University is a special place to play because the kids pay it forward," Katchuk said. "These kids look at those state banners every day and we tell them all the time they're not as good as the 2005 team.

"They keep telling me they are. They love the challenge. The final will be a mountain for us to climb, but I've counted these girls out before and they never seem to bow down."

State softball finals

At Historic Dodgertown, Vero Beach. Admission is $12 at the gate and parking is $10.

6A: Land O'Lakes vs. Plantation American Heritage, 12:35 p.m.

9A: Palm Harbor University vs. Winter Garden West Orange, 8:05 p.m.

State softball: Seniors come through for Palm Harbor University 05/19/17 [Last modified: Friday, May 19, 2017 11:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs' belief Jameis Winston has been shaken

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Belief is the biggest attribute a quarterback can bring to his team. Belief in his talent. Belief in his commitment to winning. Belief in his ability to bring everyone together and have his voice lead the path forward.

    In this Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, file photo, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston stands on the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, Ariz. Winston is being investigated for allegedly groping a female Uber driver in 2016. The Buccaneers quarterback has denied the charge on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.  (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)
  2. Gerald McCoy or Ndamukong Suh: Who would you rather have?

    Bucs

    In the crowd-pleasing sports-talk of game of "Who Would You Rather Have?'' there might not be a more perfect match-up than this.

    Gerald McCoy vs. Ndamukong Suh.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) takes a moment before the first defensive series of the first quarter of the game between the New York Giants and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017.
  3. Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: 'Let them remember us'

    Bucs

    TAMPA — In the spring of 2010, one of the biggest debates the week leading up to the NFL draft was which defensive tackle would be selected first? Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy.

    Ndamukong Suh was selected one pick ahead of Tampa Bay's Gerald McCoy in the 2010 NFL Draft. The two Pro Bowl defensive linemen meet Sunday in Miami when the Buccaneers face the Dolphins, but McCoy insists "there's never been a rivalry." (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
  4. Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

    Bucs

    Greg Auman has a final preview of Sunday's Bucs-Dolphins game in Miami in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry (14) earns a fist down on a reception during a game against the Oakland Raiders earlier this month at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. [Al Diaz/Miami Herald/TNS]
  5. Region football: Clearwater Central Catholic 37, Calvary Christian 10

    Footballpreps

    CLEARWATER — The ice bath ensued for Clearwater Central Catholic coach Chris Harvey after the Marauders' 37-10 victory over Calvary Christian in Friday's Class 3A region final.