They had it all — pitching, hitting, and teamwork — but in the end it still wasn’t enough to take the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School softball team to the state final.
But they did make it all the way to the final four — something that head coach Brian Staubly is proud of.
“They had the best team chemistry I’ve seen since I got here,” said the fifth-year coach, who prior to Douglas had also coached at Broward College. “They worked hard, and you need all that to get to where we got, especially in Florida because there’s so many good teams throughout the state.”
Douglas won the Class 8A district tournament, then the regional championship before falling 9-5 against the Miami Coral Reef High School Barracudas in the state semifinal game.
“We didn’t make a lot of errors, but the second inning, we struggled,” Staubly said of the game against Coral Reef. “They got some walks and strung some hits together and scored five runs. Take that inning away and we probably could’ve won.”
“I think we could’ve done better as a team. But sometimes you just have those games where you can’t come out on top and that was just one of those games,” catcher Maddie Sack said.
Sami Feller, who pitched the semifinal game, said a contributing factor to the lengthy post-season was the team spirit.
“We had six seniors on our team and four juniors, so our core group of girls had been playing for three years together and feeding off each other. This year we just came together,” she said.
Feller, a junior, pitched in 22 games this season and had 175 strikeouts. That includes a no-hitter she pitched in the district championship game, and a one-hitter in the regional championship game against Park Vista High School.
“The only run they got was a home run,” Coach Staubly said.
“Playing with her for three years, I got adjusted to what she likes,” Sack said of Feller. “I learned what her best pitch was, when to throw something, when not to throw something … it was kind of a learning process throughout the years. Definitely a lot of teamwork.”
Sack, who batted fourth in the lineup this year and had a .452 average for the year, graduated from Stoneman Douglas in May with a 5.1 GPA. She is headed to Yale in the fall, where she’ll catch for the Lady Bulldogs. She’s still deciding whether to major in economics or political science.
Staubly said he is proud of the team, which did better than any other softball team in Stoneman Douglas’ history with a final record of 25-7. Out of his six graduating seniors, four are going on to play softball in college — with three going to Division I schools to play.
“It was nice because I had them in school since they were freshman,” he said. “I watched them grow and mature, become really good softball players, and students too.”
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