The Bobcats will play Indian River Inland Lakes, the top-ranked team in Division 4 for much of the season, in the state championship game at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Whiteford will be making its sixth all-time state finals appearance and first since 1994. They got there with timely hitting, superb pitching and solid defense.
Karysn Berns-Moore led off the game with a triple to the fence. Baylee Baldwin bunted to first and stole second before Manley slugged her first home run over the right field wall. Manley hit another home run, this one closer to the line but well over the wall, in the fourth inning. Whiteford added two runs in the seventh on a single by Walker.
On the mound, Walker allowed just one run and scattered three hits and one walk. She struck out nine, including Coleman’s leadoff batter three times. Berns-Moore made several outstanding defensive plays and Victoria VanBrandt gloved a deep line drive in right for the game’s final out.
Manley finished the game with two hits, three runs and four RBI. The senior centerfielder walked once and put down a sacrifice bunt in her other trip to the plate.
The top hitters in the Bobcat lineup – Berns-Moore, Baldwin and Manley – combined for six hits in nine at-bats, with six runs scored and four RBI.
Coleman finishes the season 35-7.
The Bobcats, who won the Tri-County Conference, improved to 33-6 on the season, with Walker winning 29 of those games.
Against Inland Lakes, the Bobcats will try and become the 11th TCC team to win a state softball title:
TCC teams to win a state softball championship: