PINELLAS PARK — Before Palm Harbor University's district matchup at Pinellas Park, the biggest game to date for both teams, Hurricanes coach Chuck Poetter was unsure whether starting pitcher Taylor Sabol would be able to throw.
Sabol, a freshman who was undefeated entering the Pinellas Park game, twisted her left ankle finishing off a win over Dunedin on Tuesday and hadn't thrown since.
Sabol's ankle might have been hurting. Her heart, however, was more than ready.
Pinellas Park entered Thursday's game averaging more than nine runs a game, but Sabol limited the Patriots to one run on five hits in a complete-game 2-1 victory.
"Until we got here, we didn't know if she was going to be able to pitch," Poetter said. "We were concerned. She threw a great game. She did the things she needed to do."
Pinellas Park (11-1) put runners on second and third base with two outs in the first inning, but Sabol (9-0) got the Patriots' Tatum Mcdowell to ground out. After the first, Sabol allowed only two baserunners from the second to the fifth inning.
In the sixth, Sabol walked Sara Nevins with two outs, and Summer Giberson (running for Nevins) scored after Mcdowell laced a double over the leftfielder's head. Sabol escaped further damage by getting Taylor Klinesmith to ground out. Sabol finished with seven strikeouts.
"We struggled a little bit at the plate with (Sabol) throwing," Pinellas Park coach Shane DeMartino said. "She threw a good game."
PHU (11-1) experienced similar difficulties against Nevins (11-1, nine strikeouts) but broke through in the fourth. With runners on first and second, Courtney Pavlock lifted a high fly ball behind second base that Mcdowell had for a moment but dropped. Both runners scored.