PLANT CITY — From her spot in the third-base coaches box, Heidi Kouveras made the evening's most brisk dash for home Tuesday night.
No sooner than East Bay ace Kayla Cox ended the game with her ninth strikeout for a 3-0 Indians win, Kouveras was gone. Fed up by another night of botched baserunning and fielding flubs, Plant City's veteran coach left the park — and left the postgame speech to her staff.
"I'm tired of beating ourselves," Kouveras said from her cell phone on her way home.
"We should've won this game. I really feel if we would've held our own and eliminated the mental mistakes we would've won the game or at least forced extra innings."
Instead, Kouveras watched the Raiders (6-7, 2-3 Class 5A, District 8) commit five errors in the final four innings, get two runners picked off base during the same span, and have a fifth-inning rally thwarted by a rare batter-interference call.
Combine that with a squandered offensive outburst the previous night against Newsome, when the Raiders managed only two runs off 10 hits, and Kouveras was ready for a solitary drive.
"I don't like to be angry," she said. "I'd rather calm down and come back tomorrow."
On a night when Cox (nine strikeouts, one walk, one hit batter) wasn't at her most dominant, the Raiders collected four hits but couldn't convert them into runs.
They had runners at the corners in the fifth with two out when Kristen Wyckoff's apparent single was nullified after the umpire ruled she stepped out of the box before making contact.
Plant City wouldn't threaten again as Cox (8-0, 0.00 ERA) fanned four of the last five batters she faced. Nicole Kennedy provided Cox with all the support she would need when she led off the fourth with a double and scored on Sierra Rock's two-out single.
Allysa Caisse doubled in the sixth, reached third on an outfield error and scored on sophomore twin Christina Caisse's single. East Bay (8-4, 6-0) manufactured its final run on a pair of errors in the seventh.
"They've got a very solid team," Indians coach Glenn Rodriguez said, "and we knew it was going to come down to mistakes."