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DADE CITY — Rewind to last season’s 12-2 loss suffered by Pasco to crosstown rival Zephyrhills in a Class 4A region quarterfinal, a bitter defeat for every Pirate. Experience and youth hindered Pasco last season, but that was last year.
Fast forward to this season. After a 9-3 victory over a surprising Lecanto squad Wednesday night, there was a smile on just about every Pirate’s face.
Pasco seems to be peaking at the right time, as it moves onto Friday’s region semifinal to face River Ridge, which defeated Mitchell 2-0. Pasco lost its lone matchup with River Ridge 4-1 April 13.
“We started off really good,” Pasco coach Lisa Herndon said. “We were without Jordan (Lane) in our first matchup with River Ridge, so she’ll make a difference for us. Our key is we’ve got to keep hitting the ball.”
Hitting was no problem against the Panthers (9-14), as Pasco (24-6) got 13 hits off Lecanto’s Danielle Yant and Breanna Martin.
Pasco’s big inning came in the bottom of the second, when sophomore centerfielder Kelli Parker hit a two-run blast to rightfield to give the Pirates a 4-0 lead. Pasco pitcher Courtney Brandt was equally as impressive on the mound, striking out 11. Besides allowing a three-run homer to Taylor Upchurch in the top of the third, Brandt was basically flawless.
“(Pasco) played a tremendous game across the board,” Lecanto coach Robert Dupler said. “I don’t think they committed one error. (Herndon) has done a great job with her program and getting them into the playoffs these past two years.”