CLEARWATER — Canterbury's season opener against Countryside was just the kind of game coach Jody Moore envisioned.
A tough one.
For the first time in her six years at the school, Moore was able to schedule a Pinellas County public school team in a regular-season game.
It was a game that came down to the end Tuesday with the Cougars preserving a 2-1 win on Sommer Pollard's throw home to catcher Hailee Keisling, who put the tag on the Crusaders' Savvy Mitchell for the final out in the seventh inning.
"We always want to play up against stronger opposition," said Moore, who guided Canterbury to the Class A state tournament for the second straight season last year. "We're thankful for Countryside giving us the opportunity."
It also was a tough test for the Cougars, who have nine freshmen on the roster, including four starters.
One of the starters was pitcher Eryn Rowe, who shook off a rough start to pick up her third win. In the first inning, Rowe hit leadoff batter Sarah Fleming, who stole second then scored on an error to give Canterbury a 1-0 lead.
Countryside (3-0) tied the game in the bottom of the inning when Keisling singled then scored on an error.
Keisling helped keep the Crusaders off the bases by throwing out four runners.
"I'm a coach that likes to take some chances," Moore said. "We kept sending the runner, but Countryside made some plays behind the plate."
The winning run came in the fifth inning when Pollard doubled, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Ayanna Andrews and scored on an error.
"This was a good game for us," Countryside coach Kaylyn Bayly said. "Canterbury is a good team that's made the final four a few years. We have a young team and this gives us some confidence."