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Tornadoes hope for deep postseason run

Posted on 17 April 2014 by LeslieM

Pages 09-16By Gary Curreri

Pompano Beach High School’s Erin Sundook said the five seniors on the softball team are hoping to go out with a bang.

Sundook, 18, of Pompano Beach, along with fellow seniors Sabrina Akrouk, Marissa Lamberti, Noelle McGuire and Stephanie Obando have started and played for the Tornadoes since their freshman season.

This is our last year and we want to leave with a bang,” said Sundook, the team’s leading hitter and star catcher. “We always hit that roadblock in American Heritage-Plantation in the regional semifinals. Our ultimate goal is to knock that roadblock down. We have been doing really good and have just four losses on the season and that is amazing.”

Sundook, who is committed to attend Miami Dade College next season, has played softball since she was 8 and said it has always been her goal to play in college. For now, she will settle on taking out American Heritage- Plantation in the playoffs.

Sundook said this could be the best team they have had since she’s been at the school. “The senior class is huge,” Sundook said. “We have five seniors who have started all four years on varsity and we have been so close and we all know how to play together. I think we are molding well and fitting together and I think our pitcher (Jessica Abramson), who is only a junior, has stepped up great this year. She didn’t get much playing time last year and, this year, she has just proven herself tremendously.”

There is one thing about this team that we do not give up,” Sundook said. “Sometimes, things don’t go our way, but if you don’t stop fighting, you won’t find success. Our offense has to be on to beat Heritage.”

Pompano High coach John McGuire took over the head coaching job last month and has guided the Tornadoes (14- 5) to a 7-1 record. The team was 7-4 when he took over. McGuire has been with the program for four years and his daughter, Noelle, is the starting second baseman for the team.

The girls all get along,” McGuire said. “There is no animosity. I keep it a little light and they have fun, but they work hard. They go to the baseball team’s games together. There is good team unity.”

There are six travel programs represented on the team and McGuire said there are probably 4 or 5 girls that have played rec softball together since they were young. The team opens District 15-5A play on April 14 at Archbishop McCarthy. Pompano Beach lost earlier in the season to American Heritage- Plantation, 9-0, and said they are still searching for not only their first win over the team, but its first run.

Since 2010, the Tornadoes are 0-10 against American Heritage-Plantation and have been outscored 81-4. The last time Pompano Beach scored against the Patriots was Feb. 22, 2010 in a 7-4 loss. It scored four runs in the sixth inning in that contest, but, since that time, the Tornadoes have been blanked 74-0. “It is going to take an error free, whole team effort,” McGuire said. “We are going to sock the giant sooner or later. They all want to do it. In four years, it has always been a battle and they are getting closer and closer every year. I tell them we are going to get there.”

We haven’t crossed the plate against them in four years,” added McGuire, who is 7-0 since taking over as head coach a month ago. “I think they are sensing urgency, especially the seniors. Last year, we lost two seniors in our pitcher (Danielle Conboy) and shortstop (Gina Daigle). That was the best core we’ve had. Some of our girls this year have really stepped up.” McGuire said Abramson is one of them going 8-4 on the mound this season for the Tornadoes. McGuire’s daughter, Noelle, is headed to Lake Sumter State College in Florida, while first baseman Sabrina Akrouk is also still being looked at by several colleges.

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