Young Crusaders come up a bit short

Canterbury falters late against Southwest Florida Christian.

Published May 2, 2007

FORT MYERS - Canterbury senior Nora Brody said three years ago, the Crusaders' softball program was a glorified "middle school team."

On Tuesday, it was a trio of middle school-aged starters who helped put the precocious program just three outs from its first region championship.

Seventh-grade ace Emily Winesett baffled Southwest Florida Christian all game, but the Crusaders gave up two unearned runs in the seventh to lose 2-1.

The walk-off rally was sparked by four uncharacteristic defensive mistakes from Canterbury.

"The kids now know how it feels, " Canterbury coach Jody Moore said. "It's something we can remember and hopefully next year we can give someone else that feeling."

The Crusaders 19-6 felt confident with Winesett in the circle. Winesett and fellow seventh-grader Jennifer Crosthwaite had formed a formidable pitching tandem; on Tuesday it was Winesett's turn, silencing the Kings (17-6) bats and battling out of jams.

"We wanted to make school history, " Macey Hall said. "We did, getting this far. But next year, we'll take it to state."

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8129.