ST. PETERSBURG — Northside Christian centerfielder Katheryn Brown picked up her bat and limped to the plate.
In the third inning of the Mustangs' regular-season finale against Canterbury, the freshman injured her right knee in an outfield collision with Lindsey Tozour.
Brown was helped off the field. She sat on the bench, her participation in the remainder of the game apparently over after a substitute went in.
But, with the Mustangs trailing by a run and threatening with the bases loaded in the fifth, Brown re-entered for her turn at the plate. Blocking out the pain, Brown singled to left to bring in the tying run, and two more runs scored as the outfielder overran the ball in a 9-5 win for Northside Christian.
"I was sore, but my whole objective was mind over matter and get a base hit," Brown said. "I just wanted to help my team out as much as possible."
Brown's clutch hit helped the Mustangs (20-2) pick up two monumental wins in as many days. On Thursday, Northside Christian defeated Bradenton Christian 7-1 for the Bay Conference championship.
"It's a big win for us," Mustangs coach John Anderson said. "We've had a good year. By far our best season ever, but we're not done, we think."
Northside Christian grabbed a 2-0 lead on a wild pitch and Tiffany Boyer's RBI single in the first. After Canterbury (15-7) tied it in the top of the fourth, the Mustangs retook the lead in the bottom half on Lauren Hughes' RBI groundout.
Canterbury went up 4-3 in the fifth before Brown delivered.
"Katheryn's going to remember that hit," Anderson said. "That's one you talk about when you're old and gray. Bases loaded, bad knee, you got hurt and rip one in the five-six hole. A huge, huge hit."
The Mustangs continued the onslaught. Julianne Grande drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 7-4, then Stephanie Bonalewicz ripped a two-out, two-RBI single.
The five-run lead was enough for freshman Jessica Anderson. Despite walking eight, she entered the seventh with a no-hitter. She gave up singles to Krissy Longstreet and Emily Winesett before retiring the side.