Prep softball: Old rivals Naples, Barron battle in regional semifinals

Dania Maxwell/Staff
The Barron Collier High School softball team preps before the start of the Class 6A regional quarterfinal softball game against Fort Myers High School at Barron Collier High School on Thursday, April 25, 2013 in Naples, Fla.

Photo by DANIA MAXWELL // Buy this photo

Dania Maxwell/Staff The Barron Collier High School softball team preps before the start of the Class 6A regional quarterfinal softball game against Fort Myers High School at Barron Collier High School on Thursday, April 25, 2013 in Naples, Fla.

The Class 6A regional semifinal between Naples High and Barron Collier features two staples in the Florida High School Athletic Association record book.

Naples holds the state record for most championships (10), while Barron Collier is tied for fourth with four. The Golden Eagles are first in state tournament games played and won, while the Cougars are sixth and seventh in the categories respectively.

“It’s Barron and Naples,” Golden Eagles coach Robert Iamurri said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s regular season or playoffs. When you play good teams you want to compete against them. It’s two teams competing at a high level right now.”

Despite their postseason success, this is just the second time the teams play met in the playoffs. The Cougars (22-4) are hoping for a repeat of the first time, a 6-1 Cougars victory in the 2011 regional semifinals.

“We’re excited to have them on our home field,” Barron Collier junior Sara Scoone said.

“We need to be loud,” added Cougars pitcher Brianna Bartuccio. “When we’re loud, we hit good.”

The Eagles (21-5) and Cougars already have played three times this season. The teams split two regular-season games before Barron Collier, led by Bartuccio’s pitching, beat Naples in the 6A-District 14 championship game.

Tonight’s winner advances to the regional finals on Friday.

Naples made it to the regional championship game five years in a row from 2006 to 2010, winning a state title in 2008 and finishing runner-up in 2010, but hasn’t been since. The Cougars went to the regional finals in 2011 but lost in the second round of the playoffs last season.

The Eagles could face Bartuccio again. The senior held Naples to four hits while pitching Barron Collier to a district title. Bartuccio then gave up just four hits and struck out 13 as the Cougars beat Fort Myers last week in the regional quarterfinals.

“It’s going to be about timely hitting. That’s what’s won all three games,” Iamurri said. “(The Cougars’) pitching is solid, and they make plays on defense. We’re going to have to get hits.”

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