CLEARWATER — Pinellas Park had never played in the PCAC championship before Thursday's final against Palm Harbor University.
The Patriots made their lone appearance count, but not without a few nail-biting moments to close.
Pinellas Park's Sammy Martin delivered two clutch two-out hits to score two runs and pitcher Sara Nevins limited a potent Hurricanes offense to just two hits in a 3-2 victory for the Patriots.
"We were really up for this game," Martin said. "We wanted to play (PHU) so badly. We were just ready for this game. We stayed up the whole game and played great."
Martin tied the score at 1-1 in the third inning by doubling to leftfield and scoring Tracy Coward with two outs.
Tatum McDowell followed Martin with a triple over the leftfielder's head to put the Patriots ahead 2-1.
Pinellas Park extended its lead with Martin's RBI single in the fifth.
"The last two games, our bats have really come alive and we're hitting finally," Pinellas Park coach Shane DeMartino said.
In the sixth, Nevins gave up her first hits of the game, consecutive singles by Lindsay Fenlon and Madison O'Brien. Jackie Katchuk's one-out sacrifice fly brought the Hurricanes (20-4) within a run, but Nevins got the final batter of the inning to ground out.
After an error put Hurricanes leadoff batter Moriah Connolly on second base in the seventh, Patriots first baseman Taylor Klinesmith made the play of the game, charging home to field Jess Adams' sacrifice bunt attempt and diving to catch the ball in midair in foul territory to hold Connolly at second.
"That's clutch. That's her reading the bat and also her reading the signs and knowing what pitch is coming and how it's going to come off the bat."
Coward made a similar play for the second out, then Martin fielded Laura Herndon's grounder down the third-base line and fired to first a split second ahead of the speedy Herndon to close out the Patriots' historic victory.
"It was so close, but I knew the whole time," Martin said, laughing.
Added DeMartino: "(Martin's) phenomenal. She never quit on the play, dug it out and got it there, bottom line."