DURANT — When Sara Demuth's curveball with two outs in the seventh got past West Orange's Taylor Fawbush and hit the glove of catcher Kristen Jones for Strike 3, the Durant pitcher wasn't quite sure how to react.
"My eyes got real big," Demuth said. "I was so excited."
She should be. With the 3-1 win Tuesday night, the Cougars (25-5) are headed to the final four for the first time since 2002. And they're going largely because Demuth, who struck out 10 and allowed only two hits and one unearned run, was magnificent.
"Her pitches were so controlled," Durant shortstop Kelsey Horton said. "Everything the catcher called, she was hitting."
Fawbush, West Orange's ace, wasn't bad herself, but the Cougars plated two in the first after opening with singles from Jones and Brandi Regan. Horton was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score one run, and another crossed on a fielder's choice.
Two Durant errors allowed the Warriors (25-5) to score in the fifth, but the damage could have been worse. With one out, Demuth snagged a grounder and tossed the ball to first, where second baseman Brittany Harwell, who was covering the bag, caught it and alertly threw home to nail a baserunner and end the inning.
Durant has won 14 straight.
"It was a great win," Durant coach Matt Carter said. "They're on a roll right now."