CLEARWATER — It was senior night at Clearwater Central Catholic on Tuesday, but a freshman stole the show.
Right-handed pitcher Sam McCloskey threw her entire arsenal at Northside Christian. Fastballs, knuckle-curves, curveballs, drop balls, rise balls — McCloskey had them all working with pinpoint accuracy to no-hit the Mustangs in a 5-1 victory.
The victory is the second substantial win in a row for CCC, which a day earlier defeated Canterbury by a 4-2 count, and avenges a five-run loss to Northside a month ago.
"We're peaking at a great time with districts coming up," CCC coach Meghan Kimsey said.
Northside (8-5) had runners in scoring position against McCloskey (8-9) in each of the first three innings but couldn't take advantage.
CCC (8-9) broke open a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third by scoring all five of its runs. Ashley Ridgeway got things started with a leadoff single. A walk and a hit batter loaded the bases, and with one out, Kelly Coston was hit by Northside pitcher Jessica Anderson (6-5) to bring home the Marauders' first run.
McCloskey followed with a bases-clearing triple to deep centerfield that put CCC ahead 4-0.
"I got a hold of it," she said. "I saw it. It was a nice inside pitch, and I just ripped it. … I actually cannot hit the inside pitch really well. Surprisingly, I kind of got it."
Jenna Lee's infield single ricocheted off Anderson's glove to score McCloskey for a 5-0 advantage.
Staked to a sizable lead, McCloskey settled into a groove and worked efficiently through the Northside lineup.
"I felt pretty comfortable out there," she said.
The Mustangs pushed their only run across in the seventh when Kayla Turner scored from second on Ashlie Phillips' sacrifice bunt. The loss snaps a three-game win streak for Northside.