ST. PETERSBURG — It's hard to imagine calling an eighth-grader a seasoned veteran but that is what Northside Christian's Jessica Anderson is.
Making her third consecutive district tournament appearance, Anderson tossed five scoreless innings and provided a spark at the plate with a 2-for-3 performance that included an RBI double as the Mustangs beat Southwest Florida Christian 10-0 to advance to the Class 2A region semifinals.
"It's kind of second nature now," Anderson said. "I have plenty of playoff experience now so it's all a matter of going out there and doing my best without feeling any kind of pressure."
Anderson helped put the Mustangs (10-9) on the board with a first-inning double to left to score Stephanie Bohalewicz from second and move Kirstie Fisher to third. Fisher scored two batters later on an infield groundout by Katherine Brown.
That was all Anderson needed, facing trouble only once in the third inning when two batters walked and another reached on an error. But Anderson calmly retired the side with a groundout to first, a pop fly to second and a fly out to center.
The Mustangs opened up the game in the third after they scored once in the second inning when Southwest Florida Christian relief pitcher Deniece Bent loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batter. Kaylyn Creel singled to score Tiffany Boyer, Lauren Hughes singled to score Lauren Tozour and Kayla Turner, and Bohalewicz flied out to center to score Creel.
"We're peaking at the right time," coach Steve Fisher said. "We played a tough schedule this year with three games against 3A competition and one against a 5A team to get ready for this type of playoff atmosphere. We're playing as well as we have all season."