LARGO — When Bishop McLaughlin scored three runs in the fifth inning of the Class 2A, District 10 final on Thursday to increase its lead over Indian Rocks Christian to 5-1, Kelsey Butler knew the game was far from over.
A year ago, the Hurricanes built a seven-run lead, then allowed the Golden Eagles to reclaim a 9-8 advantage before winning on Butler’s walk-off two-run homer. So the junior right-handed pitcher had cause for concern.
Butler, though, made sure the score stood up, allowing just one hit over the last two frames as the Hurricanes (15-10) captured their second straight district title.
“I just treated it as a one-run lead because we knew what they are capable of doing,” said Butler (9-7), who allowed four hits while striking out five. “It’s always nice to have a cushion to work with, but I wasn’t going to let up at all.”
The Golden Eagles, designated the visiting team on their home field, took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a triple by Kaley Dohme and an RBI single by Kaelyn Burris.
But the Hurricanes came back with two runs in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI double by Amy Szymanowski and a run-scoring single by Jessica Pinto.
Bishop McLaughlin broke the game open with three runs on an RBI double by Pinto and two runs scored on a misplayed ball by a Golden Eagles outfielder.
“Of course, we want to be able to walk away with a title, but we also can be optimistic with the future we have,” Golden Eagles coach Phil Farver said.
“We have some young players starting for us and they’re only going to get better with this type of experience.”
The Golden Eagles start an eighth-grader at first and third bases, and a seventh-grader at second base.