DADE CITY — The difference between Courtney vs. Courtney? A home run.
The second-inning shot to leftfield by Mitchell's Courtney Radke — the first of her high school career — disappeared in the night sky Thursday for a 1-0 win in Pasco's Bone Yard.
Radke battled head-to-head on the mound with Pasco ace Courtney Brandt. Both finished with one-hitters. Radke matched a season-high 18 strikeouts; Brandt had 13.
"Wow," Mitchell coach Scott Bisbe said. "… That's two games she's had 18 strikeouts. She's in a zone throwing right now. She's hitting her spot so perfectly. … She put a good swing on the ball, hit a home run and that was it."
At her peak, Radke retired 15 consecutive batters. She came within one out of a no-hitter before Brandt reached on a dropped third strike. She advanced on an Emily Pennington single, then stole third to put runners at the corners in the bottom of the seventh.
Radke still had plenty of pitching power and fanned Jordan Lane to end the game.
For the first time since she arrived at Mitchell, Radke is the clear No. 1 pitcher following the graduation of Olivia Kline.
The approach means there's a lot more responsibility in her hands. For instance, Bisbe would usually throw Radke then Kline or vice versa when facing opponents twice. When Pasco (4-2) visits Mitchell (5-0) next Friday, Radke will likely get the ball for the rematch.
"I know I need to take more control," Radke said. "I've matured a lot since last year. My focus last year was to pitch my best game so I could earn my spot. This year, it's just get it done and do it good."
Izzy Gould can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 421-3886.