DADE CITY — Vanessa Mills nearly doubled her season strikeout total Wednesday, fanning 14 Sunlake batters in host Pasco’s 6-3 win.
Mills, who entered the Sunshine Athletic Conference matchup with 15 strikeouts, improved to 2-0. Despite allowing two home runs, she scattered six hits and had six of her strikeouts against Sunlake’s eighth and ninth hitters — Amber Cole and Brandi Travis.
“That’s awesome,” Mills said of her career-high single-game strikeout total. “My curveball was working real good. My rise ball was awesome, too.”
Informed of Mills’ strikeout total, Pasco coach Lisa Herndon was hardly surprised.
“She can do it,” Herndon said. “If she doesn’t think too hard she’s okay.”
Jordan Lane got the Pirates going early with a three-run homer in the first inning that scored Kelli Parker and Mills.
“That’s key for us,” Herndon said. “We’ve got to start hitting right away.”
Lane added a run-scoring single in a three-run fourth. Pasco sent nine batters to the plate that inning, with Sarah Burchfield driving in a run with an RBI single and Lizzy Burchfield drawing a bases-loaded walk that scored Amber Caudill.
Parker got on base all four times as the leadoff hitter. She had three singles, was hit by a pitch and scored twice.
Sunlake’s runs came courtesy of the long ball. Stephanie Frances opened the fourth with a home run to straightaway center field. In the sixth, she singled with one out and scored on Amy Szymanowski’s two-run homer.