LARGO — It was a night for milestones at Pinellas Park.
The Patriots earned their first district championship in school history with a 4-0 blanking up Boca Ciega in the 5A-12 district final.
And in the process, pitcher Sara Nevins, a USF signee, recorded her 300th strikeout of the season.
"From the beginning of the year, we had goals set in front of us. We've accomplished both of them so far," Pinellas Park coach Shane DeMartino said, referring to the Patriots' PCAC title and newly acquired district title. "Our next goal is to continue on. The girls have worked really hard all year."
Pinellas Park (22-4) took advantage of Boca Ciega errors to get on the scoreboard, and Nevins kept the Pirates (12-7) off it.
The Patriots scored the only run they needed in the first inning when Tracy Coward led off with a single, stole second, advanced to third on an error and stole home on Sammy Martin's passed ball strikeout.
Coward again manufactured a run for the Patriots in the third after opening the inning with a single. Coward tried to swipe second again, and the throw from the catcher went into the outfield, all the way to the fence, allowing Coward to round the bases.
In the fifth, two Pirates errors led to the Patriots' third run, and Tatum McDowell brought home the fourth with a RBI single to shallow leftfield.
"It wasn't the prettiest win," DeMartino said. "But it still got the job done."
Nevins limited Boca Ciega to two hits while striking out 10. She entered the game with 294 strikeouts, and leading off the fourth, she fanned the Mary Burkett to collect her 300th of the season. Nevins now has 304 strikeouts entering regionals, a single-season high for the senior left-hander.
"She just does what she's supposed to do," DeMartino said. "She continues to work hard. …Softball is her life. She wants to do it, and she puts everything into it."
As the district runnerup, Boca Ciega advances to next week's region round for the first time since 2004.
"We're really excited," Pirates coach Michelle Beckert said. "Obviously we wanted to beat Pinellas Park, but we're excited to keep playing."
Bryan Burns can be reached at [email protected]