Canterbury walks away with another softball title

By Katherine Smith, Spectrum Sports
Last Updated: Thursday, May 18, 2017

For eight innings, you got the sense something big was brewing for Taylor Bump.

The state's leader in home runs had helped her Canterbury team out of a jam countless times. But on the biggest stage this season, Bump saved the best for last.

The University of Michigan commit drove in the winning run with a walk-off RBI in the bottom of the ninth for a 2-1 Crusaders win in the Class 2A softball state championship. It was Canterbury's fourth title and their first since 2014.

Canterbury was all too familiar with Thursday's opponent. Aucilla Christian was responsible for no Crusaders title game appearances the past two seasons. The Warriors knocked Canterbury out of the state semifinal round enroute to back-to-back titles. The last time Canterbury beat Aucilla was 2014 when they won their second-straight championship.

Aucilla Christian struck first in the top of the second. Left fielder Natalie Sorensen knocked one over the center field fence for a 1-0 Warriors lead.

Canterbury loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth with two walks for Taylor Bump and Jocelyn Alonso and a single to center field by Danielle Romanello. With no outs, Aucilla changed pitchers.

Then Ashley Campbell's shot to center field scored Bump when Aucilla bobbled the catch. But Romanello was tagged out trying to steal home. And the Warriors got the next two outs to end the threat.

The Crusaders threatened to add to their lead in the bottom of the fifth by taking advantage of Aucilla errors, that first put Kaitie Polland on first and then on third with an errant throw. Back-to-back walks from Bump and Romanello loaded the bases with two outs.

But Alonso popped out to end the inning leaving three runners stranded.

Aucilla put runners on first and second in top of the seventh, but great defensive efforts ended the inning.

In the bottom of the seventh, Madison Fine reached base with two outs thanks to a fielding error, but Bump struck out sending the game to extra innings.

Canterbury had a shot to end the game in the bottom of the eighth when Romanello reached base on an infield single and reached third base with Campbell's double to left field with one out. Aucilla pitcher Elizabeth Hightower sent the game to the ninth by retiring the next two batters.

Aucilla had scoring opportunities in the ninth with runners on first and second. But Fine made a diving catch in center for one out and the Crusaders turned a double play to send it to the bottom of the ninth for Bump's winning hit.