The Okeechobee High School Lady Brahmans softball team advanced to the regional final with a dramatic extra inning win against the Dwyer Lady Panthers on May 14.
You may be feeling a sense of déjà vu reading this story. The OHS softball team won a playoff game in extra innings in dramatic fashion? Didn’t you just read something similar to that last week?
Well, yes you did. The Lady Brahmans and gripping, edge-of-your-seat softball have gone together like two peas in a pod all throughout the playoffs this year, and with the momentum Okeechobee now has, you shouldn’t expect it to stop anytime soon.
Okeechobee actually held a sizable lead over Dwyer headed into the sixth inning of the regional semifinal. The Lady Brahmans were up 5-0 and looked like they might roll into the regional final with little to no resistance.
But the Lady Panthers were in the playoffs for a reason — they’re a talented team. And over the sixth and seventh innings they were able to storm back into the game to tie things up at 5.
With the competitors knotted up after seven, the game headed into extra innings.
After allowing those five runs in the sixth and seventh innings, OHS pitcher Haley Underhill was able to shut out the highly touted Dwyer offense for the remainder of the game. Which was crucial in allowing Okeechobee to take back the lead from the Lady Panthers.
Okeechobee’s ninth-inning rally was kicked off by a freshman, which felt appropriate considering the young team the Lady Brahmans are fielding this year. Freshman Robbie Talley was able to connect on a lead off single in the top of the ninth. Talley was pinch-hitting at the time. It’s an impressive achievement for anyone to perform under the pressure of leading off an inning during a high intensity playoff game with your team’s season on the line, but it’s that much more impressive that Talley was able to come up off the bench as a freshman and deliver a base hit in that situation.
Next Dwyer made the decision to walk Janel Aponte and pitch to Faith Vest. It didn’t take long for Vest to make the Lady Panthers regret that decision as she blasted an RBI single to shallow center field to give Okeechobee the 6-5 lead.
And the Lady Brahmans weren’t done yet.
With two Lady Brahman runners still on base Destiny Elliot stepped up to the plate and proceeded to absolutely tattoo a ball into deep left field that got down and rolled all the way to the wall.
That brought one Lady Brahman run in easily, but as Vest rounded third the Lady Panthers were already relaying the ball to their catcher to cut off Vest and keep the Okeechobee lead at two.
But Vest collided with the Dwyer catcher, knocking the ball loose and securing an 8-5 lead.
That brought the large Okeechobee crowd who made the trip to Dwyer High School to their feet. Chants of “Chobee” drowned out the Dwyer announcer as he attempted to introduce the next Lady Brahman batter.
In the bottom of the ninth, Underhill took care of Dwyer with a three-up, three-down inning to send Okeechobee to the regional final.
Awaiting Okeechobee in the regional final is the Doral Academy team, which has a 21-4 record so far this year. A win against Doral puts Okeechobee in the state semifinal, and one game away from a shot at the state title.
The Lady Brahmans will host the regional final at 3 p.m. on the softball field at Okeechobee High School on May 17.