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Wellington advances to state softball final

The magic continued for the Wellington softball team on Friday at Historic Dodgertown.

Less than a week after a game-winning grand slam lifted the Wolverines into the state semifinals, freshman Kate Desimone and a patient Wellington offense helped put the school within one win of its first state softball championship.

Desimone gave up one unearned run, and the Wolverines broke open a close game in the fifth on the way to a 6-1 victory against Plant City in a Class 8A state semifinal.

With the win, the Wolverines (22-7) advance to their first state softball final. Wellington will play Orange Park-Oakleaf at 5:35 p.m. Saturday.

“This is big,” Wolverines coach Mark Boretti said. “We’re young. We only have three seniors. It’s really something to build on. This is our first time going to the championship game, and we face a monster of a team in Oakleaf.”

The Raiders (22-3) grabbed the lead early, going up 1-0 in the top of the second on an RBI single by right fielder Abbie Deweese.

Wellington threatened in the fourth, putting a pair of runners on base with no outs following an error and a walk. Plant City starter Ashley Blessin got the next two outs on two hard-hit liners, but Katie Schmidt followed with a single to right to bring home Cynthia Whitty with the tying run.

The hit was the first allowed by Blessin, who allowed just one baserunner — on a walk — through the first three innings.

Blessin ran into more trouble in the fifth, putting runners on second and third with one out. She got the second out with a strikeout, but Cat Glenn’s squeeze play brought Desimone home with the Wolverines’ second run.

Sarah Longley followed with an RBI single, Schmidt added a two-run single, and Cathy Vega added an RBI single to cap the scoring.

“We did a little small ball,” Boretti said. “I’m not a small-ball guy, but we did it, and it worked, and we got some runs and we go to the championship.”

Desimone made the lead hold up in the seventh, setting down the Raiders in order to seal the win.

She finished with a four-hitter, walking two and striking out six.

“It’s crazy,” Desimone said. “I never expected this to ever happen. And now we’re going to the championship game. We were happy just to be here.”

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