CLEARWATER — East Lake pitcher Alyssa Bache had been a seemingly unstoppable force on the mound for the unbeaten Eagles through the first 21 games of this season.
Win No. 22 for East Lake had a little bit of a twist on Saturday, though: a rematch of last year's Lady Canes Invitational final against rival and host Palm Harbor University.
Bache made sure to finish the season series strong against the Hurricanes, striking out 13 batters en route to a 4-0 no-hitter at the Eddie C. Moore Complex.
"A no-hitter vs. (Palm Harbor University) was absolutely an amazing way to end playing against them and moving on," Bache said.
"Started off right, you got to close right. You have to give that extra umph at the end of the game. Either way, you start off strong, you got to end off strong."
Early on, the game looked like it was going to be a pitcher's duel between the University of Florida-bound Bache and Palm Harbor University's Taylor Sabol.
But in the top of the third inning, East Lake (22-0) finally broke through, when Sarah Schutz launched a double to the leftfield fence to score both Alyssa Weaver and Marisa Palumbo.
The Eagles added another run in the third inning, and that's all the run support Bache needed, as she shut down the Hurricanes (16-4) lineup other than two walks.
"With the field of teams here, we really wanted to come out here and do well," East Lake coach Mike Estes said.
"I just had a feeling when we looked at the brackets it would either come down to Palm Harbor, Chamberlain or River Ridge in the championship game if we got that far. What can you say about Alyssa (Bache)? She don't want you to take the ball from her. She's a gamer."
Plant beat River Ridge 8-5 in the third-place game.