CLEWISTON — The first inning of Moore Haven High School’s softball game against Clewiston Feb. 22 indicated how valuable Seminole players are to the Lady Terriers.
All three Seminoles in Moore Haven’s starting lineup – left fielder Sunni Bearden, shortstop Sydnee Cypress and first baseman Kalgary Johns – ignited the Lady Terriers to a fast start on the way to a 7-5 road victory.
Sunni led off the game with a single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Sydnee. Four batters later, Kalgary drilled an RBI double down the left field line for a 4-0 lead.
In all, the Seminole trio combined for five hits and four RBIs as Moore Haven (6-1) continued its strong start to the season under new coach Clint Raulerson.
With Kalgary (senior), Sydnee (junior), Sunni (sophomore) and Diamond Shore (a freshman who did not play against Clewiston), the Tribe has all four grades covered.
“They work hard. They’re a bunch of good kids,” Raulerson said. “I know a lot of their families. They’re good kids, good people.”
After winning Class 3A district and regional championships the past two years, Moore Haven is eager to add a state title atop its mantle. Two years ago, the Lady Terriers lost in the state finals. Last season, they were knocked out it in the state semifinals.
“Right now they’re hungry because our whole motto this year is ‘finish’ because they haven’t been able to quite finish it,” Raulerson said. “They get deep in the playoffs … they don’t quite get that state title that they want. That’s why I told them I came here to help them win a state title. It’s not about me; it’s about them, and I want to see these kids win a state title this year. “
“We’re determined to make it to state,” Kalgary said. “We have a good coaching staff this year and I think we’ll make it.”
Kalgary said she got off to slow start with the bat this season, but two hits and three RBIs from the No. 7 spot against Clewiston showed she’s back in the groove.
“I was struggling a little bit at the beginning of the season, but I finally got started. Tonight was a good game,” said Kalgary, who visited the left field corner again in the third when she blasted a first pitch fastball that brought home two runners. Kalgary was caught in a rundown on the play, but that didn’t diminish an otherwise satisfying evening for Moore Haven.
From the right side, switch-hitting Sydnee crushed a double to left-center – the hardest hit ball of the game – to lead off the sixth and scored. Sunni notched her second hit with a single in the sixth.
Through the first three weeks, Moore Haven averaged nearly 10 runs per game. So far, the only hiccup came Feb. 5 with a 10-0 loss against American Heritage, of Plantation, a Class 5A powerhouse whose starting lineup includes the Tribe’s Ahnie Jumper and Kiauna Martin.
Aside from the final score, Kalgary said she enjoyed facing friends from the Tribe.
“It was fun,” Kalgary said. “We’ve all grown up together and played together on travel ball and everything, so it was fun to play against them. They’re a good team, a stout team. They had good pitching, good hitting, good fielding, good everything.”
Moore Haven bounced back from the defeat. The win against Clewiston was the fifth straight for the Lady Terriers, who turned a game-ending double play on a line drive back to pitcher Olivia Everett with the tying run at second base.
“They’re working really hard and we’re pushing them really hard,” Raulerson said.