For a record fifth consecutive time, the Coral Springs Charter Softball team won a fifth straight State Championship Friday morning after beating the Marianna Bulldogs 7-2.
CSC is just the second team in the state of Florida ever to win five straight championships and will go for a record number six in 2020.
With what has been a crazy season for the Panthers, it only intensified with head coach Mark Montimurro unable to attend the state finals due to a heart issue. However, Montimurro was still able to give out a scouting report that the team followed all weekend.
“It was a blessing being able to play under Coach Montimurro,” said senior captain Lindsey Garcia. “We thought about him the whole time we were here, and we just played Charter softball.”
Brianna Godfrey started for the second straight day and finished the season with a perfect 16-0 record. The freshman pitched a complete game allowing just two runs.
“I was very nervous in the beginning, but I had my teammates behind me,” Godfrey said. “I was just doing this for Coach Mark and all the seniors. It’s just one of the greatest feelings in the world.”
Early on, the Bulldogs had two girls on base in the first and second inning and while Godfrey was able to escape the first inning on a called third strike, Marianna scored one on a two-out hit in the second. It marked the second straight game that CSC trailed 1-0.
However, the Panthers would take the lead right back, as Cassidy Crump continued her spectacular weekend with a triple scoring Shannon Doherty. Kiara Meikle then bunted home Crump for the Panthers first lead of the game.
They continued to score in the second, as Godfrey advanced Meikle to third. Tatianna Luersen came through for her first of two RBI’s on a safety squeeze to make it 3-1.
CSC continued the bunting parade in third, as Sara Berthiaume bunted for a hit and came around to score on a Bulldogs error after a walk to Doherty to take a three-run lead.
In the top of the fifth, Garcia made a nice play at shortstop and completed a double play after interference was called on the base runner helping Godfrey get through the fifth.
Looking for some insurance before Godfrey took the mound for the final three outs, CSC put up a three spot. Garcia and Doherty both reached in their final high school at-bats, and after another safety squeeze for a run, senior Jaydah Stroup pinch hit and brought in a run. The Panthers added one more on a double from Luersen and took a 7-1 lead into the final inning.
Godfrey closed the door getting the final for the complete game, as the Panthers finished the season winning 29 of their 30 games. They also finished the season with a run differential of 296 which is more than any of their past five seasons.
“Our goal was to always be the best,” Montimurro said. “The girls proved once again they are exactly that. Big thanks to Paul and the staff as well for keeping the train moving. They were sensational. Can’t wait to break the all-time record next year.”
Two girls that were able to break a record this season were both Garcia and Berthiaume, as they became the only two players to win five championships in their varsity career. Both these players started off playing as eighth graders and finished their high school career as a state champion five years straight.
“It’s crazy how Lindsey and I are the only two to wins five championships”, said Berthiaume. “We would never have been able to do it without our team work hard for us. Our team is awesome.”
It was also special for assistant coach Paul Gorlick as well as varsity baseball coach Charlie Fine. With Montimurro unable to travel, Fine helped the Panthers out this weekend as an assistant coach. After a spectacular season for his Coral Springs Charter baseball team winning a regional game for a second straight season, he was able to celebrate after being the first base coach this weekend.
“I have never seen a group like this,” said Fine.“Mark has put together a great team and I was just so excited to be a part of it, and they accepted me into their family.
CSC had five players that played their last game this season. Garcia, Berthiaume, and Doherty will all be playing collegiate softball next year at Auburn, FAU, and UCF respectively.