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Somerset Silver Palms shows veteran poise in state softball semifinal

Veteran softball coach Gator Rebhan has been in his share of high-pressure games during his career with previous stops at Miami Palmetto and at the college level at FIU.

For his young team at Somerset Academy Silver Palms, a small charter school in Homestead, Tuesday afternoon was the first time it had played in a state tournament.

But you could have fooled anyone watching the Stallions, who rallied for a 3-2 win over Montverde Academy in a Class 3A semifinal at Legends Way Ball Fields in Clermont.

Somerset (29-2) advances to the state championship game on Thursday at 1 p.m. where it will face Clearwater Calvary Christian.

“These girls are young, but they just don’t think,” Rebhan said. “They just go out and play. They think every game is just a regular game which is good.”

Brigitte Valdara’s go-ahead RBI double in the bottom of the sixth inning drove in the decisive run for the Stallions.

Taylor Rebhan, Gator’s daughter, went 1 for 2 with a walk, a stolen base and a run scored.

Ava Stevens and Arlene Sordo each went 1 for 3. Stevens scored one of the Stallions’ first two runs after they fell behind 1-0 in the second inning. Sordo drove in two runs.

“We just always keep our energy up in the dugout and keep things positive no matter what situation we’re in,” Taylor Rebhan said. “We’ve seen the best of the best and we feel like we can take anyone down.”

Edan Playa pitched a complete game, allowing five hits and striking out five to keep Somerset in the game despite the back and forth.

Somerset pitcher Edan Playa pitches during Tuesday’s Class 3A state softball semifinal against Montverde Academy at Legends Way Ball Fields in Clermont, Fla.
Somerset pitcher Edan Playa pitches during Tuesday’s Class 3A state softball semifinal against Montverde Academy at Legends Way Ball Fields in Clermont, Fla.

“Edan kept in control and got the big strikeouts when we needed it,” Gator Rebhan said.

The Stallions will face an even bigger challenge in Calvary Christian, which beat Baldwin 7-4 on Tuesday in the other 3A semifinal.

The Warriors are led by sophomore pitcher Morgen Tally, who has gone 11-2 with a 1.18 ERA and 164 strikeouts this season.

“She’s a tough pitcher and I’m sure it’s gonna be a tough challenge for us,” Gator Rebhan said.