Knights Shine in South Tampa’s World Series Win

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Photo E. Draper and O. Salzman

Bailey Adams, Sports Editor

One year after falling short of a second straight Junior League Softball World Series, the South Tampa All-Stars powered their way through the field of national and international teams in Kirkland, Washington to earn the 2015 world championship.

The team was made up of players from the Palma Ceia, Interbay and Tampa Bay Little Leagues, including seven girls who currently attend Robinson: Tara White (’18), Claire White (’18), Kaitlyn Power (’18), Cassidy Renninger (’18), Alyssa Acosta (’19) and Alexis Smith (’19). Olivia Longshore (’17), a Knights player who was on the 2013 championship team, served as an assistant coach under her father, Bo.

South Tampa cruised through seven games in Kirkland, beating teams representing the Asia-Pacific, Central, Washington, Canada, Europe-Africa, Southwest and Asia-Pacific regions once again.

Head Coach Bo Longshore credits work ethic and determination as the reason for the team’s success.

“We practiced at 7:30 in the morning in the heat and at 6:30 at night in the humidity and rain,” he said.

Longshore has been coaching the same players for several years, but this season had to be different.

“I told the girls that we were good, but not great, yet,” Longshore said. “They took that to heart, and every one of these players made it a point to work as hard as they could to achieve greatness. To watch that transformation from good to great was very fulfilling as a coach.”

Throughout the tournament, Knights players helped lead the charge, with Renninger, Power, Smith and the White twins starting every game. In the championship game, which was televised by ESPN, Asia-Pacific was looking for an upset. However, the high-powered offense from the South Tampa girls dashed those hopes. A 9-run outburst backed Renninger, who allowed just two runs on four hits in a complete game while striking out five.

With seven players sharing this championship experience, the Robinson softball program could be reaping some benefits next spring. Last season, the Knights advanced to the region semifinals before falling to Boca Ciega 6-2.

 

South Tampa’s run by the numbers:

  • Outscored opponents 84-16 in Kirkland (seven games)
  • While in Kirkland, the pitching staff held opponents to an average of 2.3 runs per game
  • The offense scored an average of 12 runs per game in Kirkland
  • Outscored opponents 244-31 throughout the summer