GIBSONTON — Host East Bay snapped a five-game winless skid Wednesday and drew first blood in the Class 5A, District 8 race with a 2-0 shutout of rival Newsome.
"It gives us an upper hand," East Bay coach Glenn Rodriguez said. "They've got a good ball club."
Kayla Cox pitched a two-hitter with 15 strikeouts against what is widely considered one of the better hitting teams in Hillsborough County. Her effort helped the Indians get back on track after four losses and a tie during a tournament in Sarasota.
"To us, for sure, district is way more important," Cox said. "I'm planning on staying in first place and going all the way."
East Bay (2-4-1) got all the runs it would need in the bottom of the first. Elizabeth Nugent belted a two-run, two-out double to straightaway centerfield to bring home Allysa Caisse, who reached on a single, and Sierra Rock, who walked.
The Indians came close to adding a run in the sixth. Nugent hit her second double and tried to score on Victoria's Cooper single up the middle, but was out at the plate. Centerfielder Felecia Heaser charged the ball, scooped it up and made a nice throw to catcher Ashley Gornto, who blocked the plate and applied the tag.
Newsome ace Bailey Schinella pitched well in a losing effort, scattering five hits and fanning three.
Newsome (1-1) had its best scoring chance in the fourth when Jenn Owens led off with a double in the left-centerfield gap, but was stranded at third base.