Nine teams from the region are playing this week in the regionals


Nine teams.

Out of 12.

This is the number of Lake and Sumter Counties high school softball teams eligible to play for a Florida High School State Championship.

Six of those teams — East Ridge, South Lake, Eustis, Umatilla, Mount Dora Christian and Montverde Academy — earned regional quarterfinal berths by winning their district tournaments last week, while the remaining trio — Lake Minneola , The Villages and South Sumter – advanced based on computer rankings.

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Let’s take a look at the local teams.

Class 6A-Region 3

7 p.m., Thursday

Winter Haven (15-11) at East Ridge (18-8)

The Knights won the Class 6A-District 9 tournament last week with a 4-1 win over Kissimmee Osceola. In two district tournament matches, East Ridge outscored their opponent 20-2.

Winter Haven rode a six-game winning streak, including back-to-back shutouts, in last week’s District 10 Championship game against Bartow. However, Bartow broke the run for the Blue Devils, shutting them out 4-0 in the District Championship game.

Class 5A-Region 2

7 p.m., Thursday

Okeechobee (12-8) at South Lake (15-11)

South Lake — District 6 champions and the region’s first seed — fought their way through one of the toughest schedules, which included multiple playoff teams. Arguably his best win of the season was a 1-0 decision against reigning Class 4A state champion Eustis.

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The Brahmans – District 8 runners-up – lost 3-0 to Stuart South Fork for the District Championship. Prior to this game, Okeechobee had won five of its previous six games.

Class 5A-Region 2

7 p.m., Thursday

Lake Minneola (15-9) to Stuart South Fork (11-5)

The Hawks, the region’s seventh seed, earned a spot in the region based on their computer rankings. Lake Minneola lost to South Lake in last week’s District Tournament and once during the regular season, but also eliminated Class 6A East Ridge.

South Fork, the District 8 champions, have won eight of their last 10 games, including two District Tournament games by an aggregate score of 22-0.

Eustis pitcher Libby Levendoski (6) works against Windermere Prep April 18 at Eustis.

Class 4A-Region 2

7 p.m., Wednesday

Palm Bay Bayside (6-11) at Eustis (23-2)

Bayside was seeded eight in the region, despite its record, which included four-game and two-game losing streaks. .

Eustis has been riding like a machine this season and is the region’s top seed. The Panthers are on an 18-game winning streak and have 13 shutouts in that span.

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Class 3A-Region 2

All games 7 p.m., Wednesday, unless otherwise specified

Charter Cornerstone from Belle Isle (13-13) to Montverde Academy 17-8

Montverde Academy is the No. 2 seed in the region and the highest seed of the four local teams in the winning half of the region’s playoff spots. The Eagles earned their place with a 2-1 win in 13 innings over Windermere Prep for the District 7 Championship.

Cornerstone Charter, the No.7 seed, lost 2-1 to Windermere Prep in the district semi-final. The Ducks played a tough schedule, with games against Lake Minneola (3-1 win) and Mount Dora Christian Academy (9-2 loss).

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Windermere Prep (9-8) at Umatilla (12-12)

Umatilla earned the region’s fourth seed after beating The Villages 9-8 last week in the Class 3A-District 5 Championship game. The Bulldogs have won three of their last six games.

Windermere Prep won a general offer after losing an additional heartbreaker to Montverde Academy for the District 7 title. The Lakers have faced several playoff teams in various classifications, including Eustis (lost 1-0), South Lake (lost 2-1 and won 2-1) and Orlando Bishop Moore (won 3-2 and 3-0).

South Sumter (15-9) at Titusville Astronaut (14-6)

The Raiders are the No. 6 seed in the region and were District 6 runners-up, losing 2-1 to Brooksville Hernando in the District Championship game. South Sumter was 3-3 this season against the Lake and Sumter programs, including wins over Tavares (9-1 and 10-2) and MDCA (9-4), as well as losses to MDCA (5- 4 in 8 innings), Les Villages (3-2 and 4-2).

Astronaut is the third ranked team in the region. The War Eagles survived Cocoa Space Coast 11-10 in 8 innings to win the District 8 title.

The Villages (15-11) at Brooksville Hernando (21-4)

6 p.m., Wednesday

The Buffalos – the region’s No. 8 – have the unenviable task of traveling to face the Leopards, the region’s top-ranked team. The Villages have lost three of their last five games, including the District Championship against Umatilla.

Hernando, has won 12 straight games and scored in double figures in seven of those games. The Leopards reached the Class 4A state title game last year before losing to Eustis 5-0.

MDCA's Wynter Craft (4) scores a hit against Umatilla March 22 at Mount Dora.  The Bulldogs host Deltona Trinity Christian on Wednesday in their Class 2A-Region 2 opener.

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Class 2A-Region 2

7 p.m., Wednesday

Deltona Trinity Christian (12-8) at Mount Dora Christian Academy (18-9)

Trinity Christian is the No. 7 seed in the region. The Eagles have lost five of the last eight games in the streak, including a 15-0 loss on April 22 to MDCA.

The region’s second-seeded Bulldogs have won their last six games. During that span, MDCA outscored their opponents 56-13.

The winners of the regional quarter-finals will play on May 17 in the regional semi-finals. The regional finals are scheduled for May 20 and the state tournament, at Legends Way Ballfields Clermont, will begin on May 24.

Tickets for all regional round games are $7.


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