CLEARWATER — Three weeks ago, Dunedin was in a funk with three straight losses, the final one by a run against district rival River Ridge.
That loss to the Royal Knights, who were undefeated at the time and ranked No. 3 in Class 6A, was a catalyst for the Falcons’ turnaround. Since then, Dunedin had won four straight.
The winning streak continued Friday in the first round of the Lady Canes tournament as the Falcons took advantage of early miscues to beat Jefferson 2-1.
“We’re playing really well,” Dunedin coach Roy Silver said. “We’re pitching and catching and doing what we can on offense to get things done.”
In the second inning, the Falcons (8-3) got all the runs they needed. Tiona Hill led off with a single. Aubrey Ehlers followed with another single that was misplayed in leftfield, allowing Hill and Ehlers to score.
Ehlers, backed by a strong defense, did the rest.
“We’re playing with a lot more confidence,” Ehlers said. “I think the loss to River Ridge was a reality check for us. We knew we had to play much better and we’ve been doing that."
During their win streak, the Falcons have beaten East Lake and handed Gulf its first loss. Today, Dunedin faces the Eagles at 10 a.m.
East Lake advanced by beating Tampa Catholic 11-3. The Eagles, who entered averaging seven runs per game, showed balance on offense as each player in the lineup had at least one hit.
Ashley Bonalewicz, Hannah Roberts and Amy Smith each had three hits and Aliyah Andrews had two stolen bases to lead East Lake.
“I thought we swung the bats well,” Eagles coach Kristie Delk said. “It was one of our best performances on offense this season.”
East Lake’s Diana Rayder had 11 strikeouts against the Crusaders, hitting .401 as a team.
The host Hurricanes beat Pinellas Park 15-9. Baily Wilson and Logyn Lilley each had two hits for PHU.
The Hurricanes (9-2) play Northeast today at 10 a.m. The Vikings (6-3) advanced with a 2-0 win over East Bay. In other first-round games, River Ridge beat Lakewood 14-0, Countryside beat Sunlake 9-4, Plant beat Osceola 5-0 and Tarpon Springs beat Seminole 5-4.