The Somerset Silver Palms softball team has come far in a relatively short amount of time.
The Stallions, a program in its sixth year of existence with only three seniors on their roster, stood one win away from their first state championship and a 30-win season on Thursday afternoon in Clermont.
But sometimes in softball, one dominant pitcher can stifle all your hopes and dreams.
Despite having faced multiple strong arms throughout the season, Somerset couldn’t muster enough offense against Clearwater Calvary Christian sophomore ace Morgen Tally and it cost the Stallions in a 3-0 loss in the Class 3A state championship game at Legends Way Ball Fields.
Tally led Calvary Christian to a state championship for the second consecutive season.
“It was a good game and the girls had a great experience,” said Somerset coach Gator Rebhan, who had previously won a pair of state titles at Miami Palmetto. “We struggled putting the ball in play against her.”
Somerset (29-3), who had not lost since dropping a 4-3 decision in 10 innings to Class 6A state semifinalist Doral Academy on April 7, had a 14-game winning streak snapped.
Tally allowed four hits to Stallions’ hitters including a double and triple to eighth-grader Ava Stevens, who went 2 for 3. Miah Gonzalez went 1 for 2 with a single and Taylor Rebhan also went 1 for 3 and stole two bases in succession, but was thrown out at home plate trying to steal.
Tally, a sophomore, who stands 6-1 and also plays volleyball for the Warriors (22-7) showed why she’s already drawn the interest of several Division-I schools by striking out 10 with no walks over seven innings.
Somerset ace and senior Edan Playa went the distance and kept the Warriors off the board for the first five innings. Playa finished with five strikeouts, three walks and allowed one earned run on five hits.
Calvary broke the scoreless stalemate with two runs in the sixth including the first that started with a slow ground ball hit to Playa and a throwing error that led to the damage.
“Taylor got a hit and Ava hit a couple, but we just couldn’t string them together,” Rebhan said. “We got a runner on third twice and couldn’t get the run home. Ava also had a chance on a wild pitch, but hesitated and we couldn’t score. We had our chances, but couldn’t take advantage.”
Rebhan expressed his gratitude to Somerset’s showing of support as numerous fans made their way to Clermont to cheer them on.
“We had a great crowd,” Rebhan said. “This is my fifth or sixth time being at state and this school handled us so well.”
Somerset made it to the regional semifinals in 2021 and the regional final last year before this year’s state runner-up finish.
Due to their young roster and this year’s experience, beating several teams including perennial powerhouse Coral Springs Charter in the regional final, the Stallions will try to build off this season.
“It basically will come down again to ‘who’s gonna beat Coral Springs Charter?’” Rebhan said. “They’re always loaded, but these girls learned a lot and we’ll be back.”