A talented group of local girls will battle for a state championship this weekend as St. Cloud plays host to the 8-10-Year-Old, 2022 Florida Little League State Softball Championship at the St. Cloud Little League fields on 17th Street.
The St. Cloud All-Stars earned their way to the state championship by defeating South Orange 12-1 and 13-0 to win a District Championship. Advancing to sectional play, the team defeated Windermere 17-0 in the semifinals before knocking off Delaney Park by a 23-4 score in the championship game.
In the Windermere victory, Zoey Velazquez pitched a perfect game. In the championship game, Elyssa Staley pitched a no hitter, with Delaney Park’s runs coming on some walks, passed balls and errors.
The team is led by the defensive play of standout shortstop Brooklyn Murling, second baseman Maryann Rodriguez, and first baseman Dylan Strauch. Top hitters include Brielle Parsygnat and Audrey Whitehouse.
“Not really surprised that this team has gotten to this point,” Head Coach Cory Whitehouse said. “This is a really talented team that I think came into All-Stars this year on a mission. A lot of these girls played on this team last year and got beat pretty bad in the district round and I think that really upset them. They came back this year with a great attitude and have worked so hard to get to this tournament.”
Section 5 Champion St. Cloud will be placed in Pool B, with Little League teams from Section 1 Champion Paxton, Section 8 Champion Ft. Lauderdale and Section 7 Champion Tampa Bay. The team will be involved in pool play, facing Paxton on Field 5 at 8 p.m. on Friday. If they win Friday’s first round game they will play the loser of Ft. Lauderdale-Tampa Bay game on 8 a.m. Saturday; if they lose, they will play the winner of that game at 10 a.m. They will play a second game on Saturday at either 1 or 3 p.m. depending on results.
Should St. Cloud win their pool, they will play in the Sunday morning championship game at 10 a.m. against the winner of Pool A. The winner advances to a national tournament in Tennessee.
“This a great experience for our girls, and I certainly want to thank my assistant coaches Jeremy Valazquez, Tony Staley and Pete Rodriguez and St. Cloud Little League President Debbie Henderson. I know our kids will be excited to play in a state championship tournament and to get to play it on our home field makes it extra special.”