BROOKSVILLE – Kama Woodall’s first run-scoring single in Saturday night’s Leopard Slam final wasn’t exactly a hard-hit smash. But that would be an apt description for the second time she drove home a teammate.
As she normally does, the Springstead senior made headlines with her arm over the two-day tournament at Tom Varn Park. But she also made an impact with the bat, and has all season.
“She’s become a complete player. This year, she’s really hit the ball well,” Springstead head coach Craig Swartout said. “It’s one of those; she’s good. She’s good. I don’t know what else I can tell you.”
By her own admission, Woodall’s pitching wasn’t the focus in an 8-2 victory over Nature Coast in the championship matchup. Not that the right-hander’s final line wasn’t respectable: seven innings and two earned runs on nine hits with six strikeouts.
Still, it wasn’t the dominance she had exhibited over the Lady Eagles’ first three tournament contests. On Friday, she threw a no-hitter in a mercy-rule shortened, three-inning 15-0 win over Gulf, striking out nine. Then she fanned 10, giving up two hits in five shutout innings as Springstead pounded Kissimmee-Liberty, 12-0.
In Saturday’s semifinal, Woodall tossed a 1-hitter with another 10 strikeouts in a 2-0 triumph over tournament host Hernando. By the end of the tournament, she had improved to 9-1 on the season with a 0.84 earned run average, having given up 31 hits and a measly two walks in 58 innings, while whiffing 94 opposing batters.
“Kama, she’s amazing,” Swartout said. “People know she’s good, but unless you get to see her pitch in person, I don’t think the newspaper and stuff does her justice, because she’s just a notch or two above.”
Against the previously unbeaten Lady Sharks, though, the offense displayed some considerable tenacity, scoring every run with two outs.
“It’s a really great point to have on our resume now going on in the season,” Woodall said. “I pitched all right. Tonight, it was more about our offense and staying up on the other team and capitalizing on mistakes.
“We came in prepared because we saw a lot of good pitching over the course of this tournament, and it really led up to this one, and we put the bat on the ball.”
She was a huge part of that performance at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two runs batted in. She knocked in the game’s first run in the bottom of the first inning on a dribbler that came to a dead stop a few feet down the first-base line, allowing Abby Oliver to score from second while the catcher waited to see if the ball rolled foul.
Another base hit resulting in a RBI in the sixth came on a sharp liner to left that banged hard off the fence, forcing Woodall to stop at first before advancing to second on the throw home.
The cleanup hitter, who hit .390 with 19 RBI as a junior, is now hitting .438 with two doubles, a triple, a home run and 10 RBI in 12 games.
“I’m more focused this year on actually getting balls in play instead of trying to get them over the fence,” Woodall said.
After pitching St. Petersburg-Canterbury to two state titles and three Final Fours, Woodall was pivotal in the Lady Eagles reaching the Elite Eight in 2016.
With Springstead now sitting at 11-1 on the year, the team appears poised to provide Woodall with one last postseason run before her impressive prep career comes to a close and she moves on to Division I North Carolina State.
“I just want to have a significant season with my team. I just want to go as far as possible and leave nothing behind,” Woodall said. “This (Leopard Slam) is big. We expected to win and we came in ready to win. But it’s just another thing to check off our checklist this season.”
Follow Chris Bernhardt Jr. on Twitter @cpbernhardtjr.