TAMPA, FL (WFLA) — It’s been 23 years since the Plant High School softball team reached the State Finals. With an 18-game winning streak heading into Friday night’s semi-final game the players and coach believe they peaked at the right time. And head coach Lauren Donohue knows a bit about Plant’s softball history. Donohue graduated from Plant in and played for the Panthers for four years.

Donohue said, “It’s absolutely amazing. I was never able to make it this far when I was here. So being able to do it as a coach and watching them, it’s like my own children are excelling and it’s amazing to watch.”  

After acquiring just a five-win team in 2019, Donohue knew she had to turn things around quickly. She had to build a family atmosphere at Plant before thinking about winning a state championship. And the players bought in. Senior infielder Gracie Ciccarello says, “this is probably the closest team I’ve ever played on. We’re together almost every day and we’ve grown these close bonds. I just love every one of these girls and I would trust them with anything.”  

Senior catcher Lauren Luciani agrees with her teammate. “These girls here are awesome. It could bring me to tears. It’s so fun and I think we can do something big this weekend,” Luciani said.  

The 26-4 Panthers play at 7pm Friday evening against Wellington.