CLEARWATER — East Lake struggled to find its offense Friday in a 3-1 opening-round loss in the Palm Harbor University Spring Tournament. But after reaching Saturday's championship game because it had given up the fewest runs in pool play, the Eagles ripped off six runs in the first inning of an eventual 9-3 rout of the host Hurricanes.
"We focused more on the outside corner," East Lake freshman pitcher Kristen Berlo said. "After that, it was just kind of like a chain reaction. Everyone just went on and on and on."
Sydney Dinelli drove in two runs in the first with a single and came around to score on one of the Hurricanes' three errors in the inning. In all, the Eagles had five hits in the inning. Leadoff hitter Alyssa Weaver reached base in three of her four plate appearances, driving in two and scoring once.
Meanwhile, Berlo went the distance, surrendering the three runs on seven hits while striking out five. She worked out of several tight spots, including striking out back-to-back hitters with runners on second and third in the second inning. She even cleanly fielded two hot shots back to the mound.
The Hurricanes ended up stranding eight baserunners.
"I expect the defense to do it," Berlo said. "… I know we're a good enough team to get those outs."