Seminole shuts out Windermere to reach FHSAA softball state final

CLERMONT — A pitchers’ duel was decided by costly infield errors Friday afternoon in a game matching Orlando area programs making their first FHSAA softball state tournament appearances.

Sanford Seminole (18-7) scored all it needed in the first inning during a 4-0 win vs. Windermere High (23-5) in a Class 7A semifinal at Legends Way Ballfields.

The ‘Noles jumped to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning with the help of two Windermere errors and an RBI single by Ava Matthews.

The Wolverines committed two more errors in the second that led to another run.

Seminole advances to face Davie Western (26-4-1) in the 7A state championship game Saturday morning at 11 a.m. Western, a 2018 state champ, won 3-2 in eight innings vs. Jupiter (15-8) on Friday.

“We never really expected to come this far, so it feels really good to have a chance to win states for the first time in the history of the school,” Seminole senior pitcher Anne Long said.

Admission is $14 in advance and $17 on the day of game through the GoFan app. The state final will stream live online for a fee at NFHS Network.

“To see where we started and where we’ve come and the growth we’ve made, the biggest thing is that they all just like to play together,” Seminole coach Aimee Halpin said. “They really like each other, and that’s really hard to find sometimes.”

Halpin, a 2009 Orlando University graduate, is in her fifth season with the team.

Long limited a hot-hitting Windermere squad to three hits while striking out five batters and issuing four walks. The Wolverines, who stranded six runners, entered the tournament batting .341.

“She always keeps her composure for us, and that’s what lets the girls know that we’re always in the game,” Halpin said of Long.

Windermere pitcher Lexi King also impressed while finishing with nine strikeouts and holding Seminole’s lineup to one hit and one walk.

But five errors in all were far too much for the Wolverines to overcome.

Miranda Murch led Windermere by going 2-for-3, with a double in the sixth.

“Mistakes happen. You never want to be the reason you lose a game; you want the other team to beat you,” Windermere coach Eileen Hannigan said. “But they played a great game and did what they needed to do to win it. That’s just how the ball goes sometimes.”

Like Seminole, Windermere was a regional champion for the first time.

“We’ve had some great games and some games where we made ourselves work, and today was one of those games,” Hannigan said. “I’m still super proud of them.”

The ‘Noles will attempt to join fellow Seminole Athletic Conference schools Lake Mary (1998), Hagerty (2018) and Winter Springs (2019) as a softball state champion.

“Hats off to all of the Seminole County schools,” Halpin said. “I truly think we have one of the best counties in Florida for softball, so to be able to get through that [conference] just shows the kind of power we have. It means a lot for the girls to make this jump.”

This article originally appeared on Email J.C. Carnahan at