Sebring outlasts Moore Haven

SEBRING - Chelsea Bassett pitched a complete game and Sebring overcame a 3-0 deficit to edged Moore Haven Monday night by a score of 9-7.

"The best part of the night was us being down, and then being able to pile up some runs and not ever losing confidence," said Sebring coach Joe Sinness.

The home victory kept Class 5A Sebring perfect on the season, as the Streaks improved to 5-0. Class 3A Moore Haven dropped to 2-4.

After trading three scoreless innings, the Terriers got on the board first in the top of the fourth.

Alaina Lee led off the inning with a bunt single. Skyler Burke singled with another bunt, and Lexie Stors reached on a walk.

With the bases loaded, Jacqueline Phares calmly dug in at the plate and belted a bases-clearing double to the outfield fence.

Bassett recovered to retire two of the next three batters, while Phares ran into a tag, to get out of the inning with minimal damage.

Sebring's bats finally came alive in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Brooke Sanders opened with a single. After Kara Faircloth grounded out, a bad throw advanced Sanders to second base and Kalea Tanner followed with a single.

Moore Haven's Olivia Everett walked Amber Hicks, and Sanders scampered home on a wild pitch to give the Streaks their first run of the game.

Another defensive lapse allowed Hicks to steal second and Tanner to sneak in at home plate to cut the Terriers lead to one. Alison Hoffner brought Hicks home with a sacrifice fly to tie the game a few pitches later before Kiana Antone flew out to end the inning.

"I don't know what woke us up," Sinness said. "I think being a little more patient at the plate helped. Once we started being patient, Olivia started walking a few girls. So we settled in and started getting some walks, and she was forced to start throwing some strikes. And when she did, we made her pay the price."

Sebring's bats weren't finished just yet, though.

In the bottom of the sixth, Sebring tacked on six more runs to balloon its lead to 9-3.

The Streaks cycled through their lineup in the inning, as Bassett reached first base safely after a wayward throw from Moore Haven's shortstop. Emily Gilbert bunted for a single and Ariel Bauer walked Tanner to load the bases.

Following Sanders' pop fly, Faircloth brought in two runs with a single. Hicks walked to reload the bases and Hoffner recorded her second RBI of the game as she brought in Ciara Copeland to give the Streaks a 6-3 advantage. Morgan Andrews cleared the bases with a two-run blast, and Bassett reached base for the second time in the inning when she knocked in an RBI to give Sebring a commanding 9-3 lead.

But the Terriers still had some fight left in them.

Moore Haven put its first three batters on base to open the top of the seventh, and Kalgary Johns opened the scoring with a sacrifice fly.

Alexis Timms and Pharnes belted consecutive RBI singles, and suddenly, the Streaks were only up 9-6. After getting an out at first, Destiny Everett knocked in the third run of the inning to cut Sebring's lead down to just two runs.

But after a discussion on the mound with her teammates and coach, Bassett collected herself and forced Johns into a ground out to end the game.

With five seniors, seven juniors, and two sophomores on Sebring's roster, the Streaks are optimistic about the season.

But even with a large number of upperclassmen, there's still a healthy amount of varsity inexperience. But one thing Sinness is sure about is that he has a roster full of athletes.

"I have three to four girls that play travel ball, and some have dabbled in it," Sinness said. "But you saw tonight, some of the plays the girls made, they weren't even the ones with much softball experience."

Sinness is hoping that his team's athletic prowess carries over when Sebring begins its district schedule. The Streaks will face an uphill battle for the district crown, with Hardee, Lemon Bay, and DeSoto all vying for supremacy.

"District realignment has made our district (5A-11) really strong," Sinness said. "So we'll need to grow, and we've got to grow fast."