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Cox strikes out 20 in East Bay shutout

GIBSONTON — Flustered by a feeble offensive effort Friday evening against district nemesis Durant, East Bay coach Glenn Rodriguez stressed the lack of productivity eventually will catch up to his club.

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But not until someone catches up to Indians ace Kayla Cox.

In the most dominant seven-inning effort of her life, the right-handed North Carolina State signee struck out 20 Cougars and allowed one hit in a 1-0 triumph on her home field.

A one-out, seventh-inning single by Brittany Harwell thwarted Cox's no-hit pursuit. It wasn't immediately clear if the strikeout total was a county record for seven innings. Last year, Cox struck out 31 in a 13-inning loss to Brandon and 21 in a nine-inning defeat against Bloomingdale.

"There's not much you can do with it," Cougars coach Matt Carter said. "Well, I say that. Yes, anybody's hittable, but tonight she was on and it showed."

Employing virtually her whole array of at least a half-dozen pitches, Cox — who has yet to surrender an earned run in 79 innings — struck out 14 of the first 15 Cougars she faced before freshman Paige Davis led off the sixth with a walk after fouling off several pitches.

To that point, the only pitch Durant (7-5, 3-4 Class 5A, District 8) put in play was junior Lauren Wolfe's hard line drive to third.

"I felt like I was on," Cox said. "I've been working really hard on spins every day and it really produced today. Everything was moving (correctly), thankfully. And without (Sierra) Rock, my catcher, I wouldn't be as good as I am."

Cox got all the run support she'd need in the fourth when Christina Caisse led off with a double, moved to third on Elizabeth Nugent's ground ball and scored on a passed ball.

Nicole Kennedy had East Bay's (9-4, 7-0) only other hit off Wolfe, who struck out nine and walked three in a sterling — yet overshadowed — performance.

The lack of pop from East Bay's offense "is a little bit frustrating, but I know eventually they're going to produce," Cox said. "It's not like they're not trying. I know when the time comes they're going to execute."

Cox strikes out 20 in East Bay shutout 03/20/10 [Last modified: Saturday, March 20, 2010 1:09am]

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