PINELLAS PARK — As the night grew colder and colder and the innings stretched on during Wednesday's game between Pinellas Park and East Lake, Eagles pitcher Alyssa Bache paced whenever she was in the dugout.
Not to stay warm — to calm her nerves.
"I can't take it anymore," Bache said often.
Finally, after Bache had taken a perfect game into the 11th inning, after she and opposing starter Sara Nevins had tossed more than 30 strikeouts each and after both teams had scored one run in the 11th inning, the four-hour affair came to an end when the Eagles scored twice in the 17th inning for a 3-1 victory.
"I could have gone 17 more if I needed to," said Bache, who finished with a career-high 37 strikeouts. "After they scored off me, I just focused more and made sure I put my team in a position to win."
The Eagles (11-1) did just that, but only after the Pinellas Park coaching staff wanted the USF-bound Nevins to come out of the game. Nevins, who had practiced with her pitching coach for a half-hour before the game, finished with 32 strikeouts.
East Lake's Erin Rawls started the 17th inning with a hard-hit single to centerfield off Patriots freshman Serena Mitchell. Three batters later, Kirsten Bembnowski singled to center to score Rawls from second.
Abby Hess added an RBI single later in the inning.