Video: Final Top 50 national softball rankings
Winter Springs ends up No. 3 behind Coach of the Year Mark Huaman.
Winter Springs (Fla.)
was knocked out of the 2018 Florida state 8A postseason with a 3-0 regional finals loss to eventual state champion Hagerty.
That left a bad taste in the mouths of coach Mark Huaman and his Bears.
"We felt we should have done better last year," said Huaman. "We beat Hagerty twice during the regular season and they beat us and go on to win state."
The message for Huaman and the Bears this season was "Unfinished Business."
"We had 11 players return from that team that went to 22-7, and they remembered that final game every day in practice," said Huaman. "We set our goal for this season to win state and they weren't going to be satisfied with anything less."
Consider 2019 as "Mission Complete" as Winter Springs beat Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton) 3-0 on May 24 to win the state 8A championship. The victory capped a 31-0 season and landed the Bears at No. 3 in the final 2019 MaxPreps national high school softball rankings.
For all Winter Springs accomplished, Huaman is the 2019 MaxPreps National Softball Coach of the Year.
"Being around these kids was the best reward and seeing them win, it was so worth all the sacrifice they put into it," said Huaman, who sports a 394-160 record with a 2011 state runner-up finish in 20 years as the Bears' coach.
The coach was quick to note he wasn't expecting to go unbeaten.
"We knew we would be good," said Huaman. "We knew we had players who could play, and leadership with kids who had been around for four years. But with our schedule, I thought we would lose six or seven games."
The Bears won seven one-run games this year, including ones over Eustis, Hagerty and Oakleaf who combined for 71 wins this season.
Huaman pinpoints practice on March 6 when he realized just how special this group was.
were always focused, they never slouched," he said. "Every kid was
doing sprints as hard as they could. Right then, I knew these kids
wanted to be something special."
, headed to Florida State, was the leader of the squad. She hit .535 with 26 extra base hits and 28 RBI.
But Huaman also points to junior pitcher Aynslie Furbush
, who was 16-0, won six of the seven one-run games and spun a one-hitter in the state title game victory. She also hit a team-high 12 home runs and knocked in 29.
hit .458 and freshman Lindsay Corazzini
batted .351, while three other freshmen — Mykala Layton
, Sky Ramos
and Madison Adams
— saw limited playing time but contributed with a combined 19-for- 31 (.613), scored 24 runs and knocked in 17. Sophomores Nicole Schricker
and Cierra Montes
teamed up for 26 runs, 21 RBI and 16 base
Sophomore pitcher Megan Hagge
was 9-0 with a 1.28 ERA and
66 strikeouts in 43 innings. Senior Taylor Thomas
was 5-0 with a 0.47
ERA and allowed nine hits in 30 innings. They teamed with Furbush
to combine for 14 shutouts.
To say Huaman managed his team well would be an understatement.
"We only had four bad innings all season," said the coach.
Prior to this year, a 26-3 mark in 2012 was the best finish for Winter Springs.
So what does the future hold for Bear softball?Past MaxPreps National Softball Coach of the Year winners
"The young kids have a taste of it," said Huaman. "They liked it."
2010 — Kevin Fagan, Dunnellon (Fla.)
2011 — Danny Hensley, Niceville (Fla.)
2012 — Carrie Austgen, Deer Park (Texas)
2013 — Penny Reece, Greenwood (Bowling Green, Ky.)
2014 — Monte Sherrill, Alexander Central (Taylorsville, N.C.)
2015 — Paul Schoenburn, East (Anchorage, Alaska)
2016 — Kristen Drust, Cheshire (Conn.)
2017 — Rob Weil, Los Alamitos (Calif.)
2018 — Missy Smith, Hoover (Clendenin, W. Va.)