Girls Softball advanced to Regional Finals for third straight year

Photo from District Championship Game against Northside Christian.

“Success is a Journey, not a Destination”

“This quote speaks volumes of our journey this spring 2017 softball season,” said Head Softball Coach Linda Derk. “Our season began in January with a very eager but young team. With only one senior on the team and three returning starters, Coach Brittany Joseph and I were not sure what to expect.”

What Coach Derk and Coach Joseph did know was that they had a solid foundation for the softball program and anything was possible. “The program has been built over the last seven plus years and I knew if this year’s team would train within that framework, we would have something pretty special.”

The Girls Softball Team started the season playing really tough competition outside of their district. They experienced some tough losses but it helped shape their post season.

“Our players learned from their mistakes and were able to grow as a team,” Coach Derk explained. “Our girls formed close bonds and they trust one another. They are better together and I like to call that the ‘IT’ factor. Another quote I like to share is ‘Teamwork makes the dream work’ and we follow that rule in everything our team does.”

The biggest challenge this year for the team was youth and injuries. Their first nine games had nine different starting lineups. In the past years, the team became comfortable with having a consistent pitcher, but with her now graduated they had to create a different philosophy of pitch by committee which meant they had five different pitchers at any given time.

Some season highlights included:

  • The District Championship win against Northside Christian, who beat them in the last game of regular season 1-0 in extra innings.
  • Their come-from-behind victory against Bradenton Christian being down 4 runs with 2 outs and coming back to win which put them in the championship game.
  • Their win over Indian Rocks at 5-0.
  • Regional Semi-Final win over Southwest Florida Christian with a walk-off home run to advance to the Regional Finals for the third straight year.

Although the Softball Team suffered a tough loss in extra innings to one of their toughest opponents, Moorehaven (4-5), at the Regional Final Competition, they cried tears of joy afterwards. “It is not all about the wins and trophies, it is about individual and team growth,” said Coach Derk. “We are most proud of the fine young women they are becoming. They respect the opportunity to represent Farragut and embrace the responsibilities that come with that. I see them becoming true leaders of character that will continue to guide them on their journey of success well beyond their Farragut experience. I am beyond grateful to my Associate Head Coach Brittany Joseph and all of our supportive parents.”

The Girl’s Softball Team is not only successful on the field, but also in the classroom. The team boasts an overall GPA of 3.52.

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Overall Season/Game Stats:

  • District Champions: 2017, 2016
  • Regional Champions: 2016
  • State Final-Four: 2016
  • District Runner Up: 2015, 2014
  • Regional Runner Up: 2017, 2015

2017 Spring Season/Game Stats

District wins /scores:

  • Indian Rocks: 5-0
  • Bradenton Christian: 6-5
  • Northside Christian: 5-1

Regional Semifinal win/score:

  • Southwest Florida Christian: 12-1

Regional Final loss/score:

  • Moorehaven: 4-5 (9 innings)

Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-State

  • Alyssa Rano, 9th grade
  • Krystina Hartley, 8th grade
  • Rachael Petrarca, 8th grade
  • Alexis Hernandez, 9th grade

Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-Academic

  • Alyssa Rano
  • Krystina Hartley
  • Rachael Petrarca
  • Brielle Benefield, 9th grade
  • Sarah Schleich, 12th grade

Farragut BlueJacket Girls Softball Team Awards and “Who to Watch”:

  • Coaches Award: Sarah Schleich
  • Most Improved: Melissa Diaz, 9th grade
  • Defense MVP: Brielle Benefield
  • Offense MVP: Krystina Hartley