The Viera Hawks are going back to the final four.
Anna Brait hit a two-run home run and Skylar Waggoner recorded her third straight shutout as the Hawks defeated the Durant Cougars 5-0 in the Class 6A, Region 2 softball championship game Friday night in Plant City.
Viera (17-6) will play Winter Springs (21-7) in the state semifinal. That game is scheduled for next Friday (May 21) at 10 a.m. at the Legends Way Ballfields in Clermont.
It’s the second trip to the final four in program history. The Hawks reached the state semifinals in 2018, coach Alex Breeden’s first season.
Waggoner, a sophomore, was brilliant once again for Viera. The left-hander allowed just three hits while striking out eight and walking two – the first two walks she has issued in her past three games.
Brait, meanwhile, finished the night with three RBIs and sparked the Viera offense in the fourth inning when the junior drove a pitch over the center field fence. Sylvia Burroughs, who had reached base on an error, also scored on the play and the Hawks led 2-0.
Viera had a chance to get a run in the fifth when Jaydin Gentile nearly hit one out, but had to settle for a double off the fence. The Hawks weren’t able to capitalize on Gentile’s hit, but they certainly took advantage of their scoring opportunities in the top of the sixth.
Burroughs led off with a double to right field. Brait then singled down the right-field line, driving in Burroughs for the second time in the game. Brait was thrown out trying to take second base.
Senior Morgan Mordas, who was a freshman on that 2018 final four team, hit a one-out double down the right-field line. She was replaced by pinch-runner Hailey Rider, who scored when Jace Jackson bounced an 0-2 pitch off the left-field wall to make it a four-run game.
And the Hawks weren’t finished.
Waggoner singled to right field and Jackson tried to score from second. The throw arrived ahead of her, but Jackson managed to evade the tag and score to make it 5-0.
The rest was up to Waggoner, who threw a perfect game in the regional quarterfinals against Seminole Ridge, then backed that up in the semifinals by shutting out a Melbourne team that had beaten Viera twice earlier in the season.
All three playoff wins have come on the road. Friday night’s game from Plant City was broadcast on Facebook by the Brevard Sports Network.
With the Hawks holding a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh, Waggoner punctuated Viera’s strong performance by striking out the side to end the game.
Next stop, Clermont.