SARASOTA — It’s no question that Sarasota pitcher Sam Messer dominated Palm Harbor University in Thursday’s Class 6A, District 7 championship.
Other than Palm Harbor U.’s Lindsey Finlin reaching first on a groundball in the top of the first inning, Messer was perfect for the rest of Sarasota’s 3-0 victory.
What is in question is whether Finlin reached base on a fielding error or an infield single, determining whether Messer should be credited with a no-hitter.
Hurricanes coach Chuck Poetter and his staff ruled it an infield single, while Sarasota coach Kelly Risley and her staff were adamant that it was a fielding error and Messer had pitched a no-hitter.
With one out in the top of the first, Finlin hit a slow roller that got past the Sarasota shortstop and Finlin was safe at first.
“She didn’t bobble it,” Poetter said of the play. “When you don’t bobble a ball the girl is safe.”
Hurricanes pitcher Taylor Sabol, a left-hander, was greeted with a leadoff home run that Sailors leftfielder Katie Johnsky — a lefty — blasted over the rightfield fence in the bottom of the first.
Sabol recovered and only gave up two runs on six hits the rest of the game. After the Sailors scored on an errant play in the bottom of the third, Hurricanes catcher Claire Hamilton ended the threat by gunning down a runner at third. Hamilton also caught Johnsky stealing second to end the bottom of the fifth inning.
As the district runnersup, the Hurricanes will hit the road in the region quarterfinals. Last year as district champion, Palm Harbor U. lost to Sarasota, the district’s runnerup, in the region semifinals. The Hurricanes hope to return the favor this year.
“We’re taking the same path (Sarasota) took last year,” Poetter said. “That’s got to be the goal. If we don’t get back down here then we’re out of it.”