PLANT CITY — On the most poignant night of Durant's season, senior ace Paige Davis got an inspirational boost from the Cougars' celestial team mom and a generous strike zone from the umpire.
The result was a 2-0 victory against Chamberlain in a clash of reigning state champions on the Cougars' annual breast cancer awareness night. The Cougars baseball and softball teams wore pink jerseys in recognition of the event.
"I don't think we've ever lost a pink game," said Davis, who tossed a three-hitter and got all the offense she'd need from the bottom of her batting order in the sixth inning. "And I don't plan on losing one ever."
Working the outside corner, Davis struck out five, walked none, hit one batter and didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning. Particularly infuriating Chiefs coach Bobby Diez was the fact his team spent the previous three practices working on outside pitches.
"The umpire was calling outside and low really good," said Davis, attending her sister's wedding in Tampa when the Chiefs crushed Durant 15-1 in a Bartow tournament on Easter weekend. "So we just stuck it there because they kept popping them up."
Freshman Madison Farrell, the No. 8 hitter, provided the winning RBI when she turned on Rachel Dwyer's 3-2 inside fastball for a one-out double with two runners on in the sixth. Kennedy Dean followed with a bloop RBI single.
Before delivering timely hits, the Cougars (16-8) delivered pink balloons skyward.
Former shortstop Olivia Cuellar, who lost her mom, Antionette, to breast cancer 10 days before Durant captured the Class 8A crown in May, tossed out the ceremonial first pitch. Cougars baseball player Luke Heyer, who lost an aunt to the disease, caught it.
All proceeds from the game — which included sales of shirts, barbecue and desserts — went to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer organization.
"(The win) really means a lot to me, because I know Momma C's up there," Davis said. "This game was definitely for her and Luke's aunt."