Mitchell shines, but Hawks fall to Pembroke Pines Charter
Viera hopes brutal schedule will pay off in postseason
Viera's Karyana Mitchell, shown here connecting on a first-inning double, had two hits against defending Class 7A state champion Pembroke Pines Charter. Mitchell also had a big day on the mound, allowing just three hits. However, a couple of defensive errors for Viera led to a 2-1 loss.
VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala
Viera High softball coach Alex Breeden had a specific reason in mind when building the Hawks’ schedule for the 2019 season.
And it wasn’t to make sure her team had a spiffy, undefeated record by the time the playoffs come around.
The Hawks welcomed defending Class 7A state champion Pembroke Pines Charter to the USSSA Space Coast Complex Friday night and got a great game from pitcher Karyana Mitchell.
Unfortunately for Viera, two critical errors led to a 2-1 loss to the Jaguars.
“Scheduling these games is what’s going to get us better,” Breeden said. “We could have a lax schedule and our record would probably be a lot better than what it is (8-7), but at the end of the day, we know we need to see tough competition so that at the end of the year, we’re peaking.
“That’s what we want. I mean, of course we want to win every game, but these games don’t mean anything.”
Viera’s seven losses this season have come to teams with a combined record of 72-17-1. That includes two defending state champs – Pembroke Pines Charter and Hagerty (Class 8A) – and two teams ranked in the top five in the state by MaxPreps (Doral Academy is No. 3, Pembroke Pines is No. 5).
The Hawks are also scheduled to play Winter Springs (10-0, ranked No. 9) later this month.
Friday’s game saw the Hawks take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning when Mitchell scored on a double by Taylor Jensen.
However, Pembroke Pines would get a lead-off triple that would eventually turn into the tying run when a pickoff attempt was thrown into left field.
The Jaguars would score again in the top of the sixth thanks to another Viera error on what would have been the final out of the inning.
Viera would get a double from Corrin Flajole in the seventh, and Mitchell was walked intentionally to put the tying and winning runs on base. But the Jaguars would get out of the inning to end the game and improve to 11-0-1.
Viera finished with four errors on the night.
“At the end of the day, they caught the ball and we didn’t,” Breeden said. “They executed plays and we didn’t. Our defense has been grinding through some stuff as of late, trying to figure it out.
“Karyana pitched a hell of a game. The two runs they scored were two unearned runs off of errors. She can pitch the game of her life, but if we’re not taking care of the ball, it’s a recipe for disaster.”
Mitchell held the Jaguars, who have been averaging just over seven runs a game, to three hits while striking out seven.
She also had two of Viera’s seven hits, including a double.
“This is a quality team,” Breeden said of Pembroke Pines Charter. “We should see them late in the year. Having played them twice (they also played in a preseason classic game), it’s only going to help us.”
Viera will return to action on Monday when the Hawks host Heritage at 7:15 p.m. at the USSSA Space Coast Complex.