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PLANT CITY — Strawberry Crest scored one of the biggest wins in school history Wednesday, though host Durant gave the Chargers plenty of help.
All five of Strawberry Crest’s runs were unearned, including three in a tiebreaking top of the seventh as the Chargers won 5-2. Durant (6-3) committed five errors.
None was more costly than a drop at first base on Mia Fung’s grounder with two out in the seventh. Two Chargers (9-1) came around for a 4-2 lead. Cacey Simmons completed the three-run inning with an RBI single. It was her team’s only run-scoring hit.
Recent Florida commit Megan Reed started the inning with her third single and wasn’t feeling any remorse over the error-aided outcome.
“We put the ball in play and hustled,” Reed said. “And we capitalized on their errors.”
Durant’s Alyssa Colding stroked a pair of run-scoring doubles, plating Payton Lewis and Brooke Freeman who had themselves doubled.
But apart from that Chargers pitcher Sammy Tyler was in control. She struck out 12 and braved the chilly conditions as the only player on the field who wore short sleeves. Tyler said she can’t get comfortable in long sleeves.
“I wasn’t cold at all. I was too pumped up,” she said.
After Colding’s double tied the game at 2 in the third, Durant had only one more hit. Strawberry Crest’s lone error, on a well-hit ball by Shannon Bell, put runners at first and second with nobody out in the fifth but Tyler got two strikeouts and a groundout.
Paige Davis walked nobody and struck out five for the Cougars. As coach Matt Carter saw it, Davis did her job.
“She’s not a big strikeout pitcher; that means the other team puts the ball in play and it’s our job to stop it,” he said. “When you can’t catch fly balls, and can’t throw the ball 60 feet, that makes it tough.”
A dropped fly followed by a poor throw put the first two Chargers on in the second. Strawberry Crest then went up 2-1 on a Trystan Reibsome RBI groundout and a fielding error.
This was the first regular-season meeting between the schools in softball.
“These are the kind of games we need to grow our team,” said Chargers coach Mindy Miltner. “Beating the defending state champs is a huge win for us.”