8A SOFTBALL: Lakewood Ranch vs. Cooper City state semifinal preview

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Top-ranked Mustangs try to advance to first ever state softball championship game

CLASS 8A FHSAA SOFTBALL STATE SEMIFINAL PREVIEW

LAKEWOOD RANCH (29-0) vs. COOPER CITY (19-6-1)

WHEN: 5:20 p.m. Thursday.

WHERE: Jackie Robinson Training Complex, formerly Historic Dodgertown, 3901 26th St., Vero Beach.

ADMISSION: $12.   PARKING: $10.

ABOUT LAKEWOOD RANCH: The Mustangs are going to the State Final 4 for the third time since 2012. … They never have played in a championship game, losing in the state semifinals all three times, including a 1-0 setback to Orange Park Oakleaf last season. … Lakewood Ranch is ranked No. 1 in the country and the state by MaxPreps. … The Mustangs won three regional games by a combined 33-0 with all three games being stopped early because of the 10-run mercy rule. … Coach T.J. Goelz is in his second season and has a 52-5 record. … Team leaders: junior 1B Avery Goelz (.563 average, 45 runs, 49 hits, 46 runs batted in, 16 doubles, 5 triples, .629 on-base percentage, 1.172 slugging percentage, 1.801 OPS), junior LHP/OF Claire Davidson (13 home runs, pitching 55⅔ innings, 63 strikeouts), junior C Mckenzie Clark (15 stolen bases), junior RHP Brooklyn Lucero (9 wins), senior RHP Kayla Howard (0.19 earned run average).

ABOUT COOPER CITY: The Cowboys won a state title in 2009, capturing the 6A championship with a 3-1 win over Neptune Beach Fletcher and were runners-up in 1994. … Cooper City has something in common with Lakewood Ranch, losing in last year’s 8A state semifinals by a 1-0 score to eventual champion Hagerty. … Coach Phil Schmalz, a graduate of Sarasota High who played baseball for the Sailors as a sophomore, is in his 11th season at Cooper City and 12th season as coach. He has a 202-83 mark with the Cowboys and 212-93 overall. … Statistics: junior SS Brenna Lokeinsky (.451 average,m 28 runs, 5 3B, 5 HR, .511 on-base percentage, .817 slugging percentage, 1.328 OPS), freshman 3B Kirsten Caravaca (8 2B, 27 RBI), sophomore LF Mia Kotzon (9 SB), senior P Jasmin Herrera (11-4, 1.89 ERA, 18 appearances, 73 innings, 55 strikeouts).

UP NEXT: The winner plays the winner of the Oakleaf-Winter Springs game at 5:35 p.m. Friday for the Class 8A state championship at Historic Dodgertown.

Dennis Maffezzoli

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