LAND O'LAKES — Michelle Bradley couldn't sleep the night before the big game.
She envisioned herself on the mound, what pitches she'd throw, every imaginable situation.
"My mind gets all screwed up sometimes," the Land O'Lakes ace said. "I think about everything that's going on."
Bradley's mind was pretty sharp Monday night as she led the Gators to a crisp 4-1 win against mighty Pasco. The battle began with a pair of undefeated teams, but Land O'Lakes (9-0) left as the lone North Suncoast team without a loss and the frontrunner for the Sunshine Athletic Conference title.
Much of the credit goes to Bradley, who earned her third win in as many starts and had a season-high 14 strikeouts. She spent part of Monday practicing with her father during his lunch break, then had a pitching lesson after school.
"She threw very well," Land O'Lakes coach Jamie Martin said. "I know there's a lot of pitches I called she didn't want to throw, but she had faith in her defense and her coach, and she really let it fly."
Pasco (11-1) struggled from the start after Colena Lazar plunked Alexis Aubuchon, who later scored from second on an error. Bradley crossed the plate to make it 2-0 on a single by Samantha Adamo.
Pasco scored a run in the second, but Land O'Lakes added runs in the second and fourth to maintain a comfortable cushion.
Lazar looked unsettled throughout the night, finishing with four strikeouts and hitting three batters for her first loss since falling in last year's state final. Defensively, the Pirates committed four errors, threw two wild pitches and didn't allow an earned run.
"She hit those batters trying to strikeout everybody, and everything was working her way," Pasco coach Shamalene Broner said. "The defense was falling behind her, putting a lot of pressure on her.
"It kind of got to her."
Izzy Gould can be reached at izzy
firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 580-5315.