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ST. PETERSBURG — Before Tuesday’s game, two-time Olympic gold medalist Michele Smith talked to West Palm Beach Berean Christian and Canterbury.
The impromptu visit caught the Crusaders off guard.
“Michele apparently knew someone on the coaching staff of Berean Christian,” Canterbury coach Jody Moore said. “It surprised us, but we were all pumped by it.”
No one more than Crusaders’ Krissy Longstreet. The senior emulated Smith with a dominating performance, a two-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts in a 6-0 win to send Canterbury to the state tournament for the fourth straight season.
“I really like being behind the plate as a catcher, but I don’t mind being out on the mound and doing what’s best for the team,” Longstreet said. “We played great defense and it made my job a lot easier.”
The Crusaders (20-10) made contact and took advantage of Berean Christian miscues.
Canterbury scored the winning run in the third inning when Mallory Posey singled, went to second on a bunt by Lacy Adams, moved to third on an infield fly rule ball that was dropped and scored on a groundout by Sarah Fleming.
The Crusaders tacked on another run in the fourth and put the game away with four runs in the fifth.
Moore let Longstreet finish the game and she retired the side to end it.
“Krissy was pitching so well, I didn’t want to take her out,” Moore said. “She earned it.”