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Plant High softball edges Wellington, 2-1, in 7A state semifinal

Panthers go for 1st title on Saturday

CLERMONT, FLORIDA – It has been a generation since the Plant Panthers went for a state softball championship, but here they are again.

Lauren Luciani’s walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth inning propelled Plant (27-4) to a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Wellington in a Class 7A state semifinal game on Friday night at Legends Way Ball Fields.

Luciani’s hit ended a fierce pitching duel between the state powers as both schools used two pitchers in an efficient manner. Plant’s Addison Swink and Cassidy Masters combined for a three-hitter, while Jordan White and Victoria Payne scattered seven hits for Wellington (20-3-1).

After its victory on Friday, the Plant softball team will appear in a state final for the first time since 2000. The Panthers will battle for the Class 5A crown on Saturday against Spanish River.

After its victory on Friday, the Plant softball team will appear in a state final for the first time since 2000. The Panthers will battle for the Class 5A crown on Saturday against Spanish River.

With the victory, Plant advanced to its first state championship game since 2000 when it finished as Class 5A state runner-up. This is the third time, overall, that the Panthers have advanced this far, having also made it to the 1991 Class 3A state championship game.

Plant will take on Boca Raton Spanish River (16-8-1) for the state title on Saturday at 3 p.m. Spanish River will make its first title game appearance after rallying to beat No. 1-ranked Lake Brantley, 13-9, in the other semifinal.

The Plant-Wellington game was scoreless until the fourth inning when Wellington’s Kaitlyn Campbell scored on a fielder’s choice.

Plant tied it in the sixth inning when Teagan Riley singled in Gracie Ciccarello. The Panthers then won it in the eighth when Abby Lucas scored on Luciani’s hit.

Ciccarello went 2-for-4 with a run scored to lead Plant.