ST. PETERSBURG — Julia Cieutat is the archetypal leadoff hitter. A scrapper who can work the count, slap a hit or drop a bunt to reach first base.
In the Class A, District 9 final Thursday, Cieutat chose the latter, beating a throw for a single.
The sophomore was on. And so was Canterbury.
Cieutat stole second, moved to third on a passed ball and came home on a sacrifice fly.
The Crusaders introduced themselves to Academy at the Lakes with one of their signature manufactured runs. They were up 1-0 with just one hit and it wasn't a homer.
Canterbury won its fifth straight district title with a 9-0 victory thanks to its ability to play small ball with hit-and-runs, steals, bunts, sacrifices and squeezes.
Cieutat usually was the one to get things started. After starting the season as the No. 9 hitter, Cieutat moved into the leadoff spot two weeks ago when Sarah Fleming tore her meniscus, putting her out for the season.
"Julia really has stepped up," Crusaders coach Jody Moore said. "She knew what we needed her to do, and she moved up there because she is fast."
On Thursday, Cieutat went 4-for-4, all on singles she beat out. Three of those hits started scoring surges. Canterbury (18-7) scored two runs each in the fourth and fifth innings and added four in the sixth.
Academy at the Lakes (11-7) was held to one hit and left six runners on base, including two who reached third.
Krissy Longstreet pitched the first five innings and struck out six for the Crusaders. Emily Winesett came on in relief the last two innings and struck out the side in the seventh.