PLANT CITY — Coming off a 9-8 loss to Riverview, Plant City coach Heidi Kouveras gave MacKenzie Audas extra work in Monday's practice, challenging her ace to challenge hitters more.
Audas took that message to heart by striking out 13, two shy of her single-game high, and driving in the lone run in Tuesday night's 1-0 win over Class 5A, District 8 rival Newsome.
"(Tuesday) was her best performance of the season," Kouveras said. "It feels good to get one of those tough wins."
Newsome (3-0-2) had won three straight before facing Plant City.
In the sixth inning of a scoreless game, and just one inning after Plant City (6-2) failed to score after getting runners to second and third with no outs, Audas came up with a clutch hit. The Central Florida signee grounded a two-out single up the middle to score MacKensie McAvoy.
"I was just thinking, 'Hit the ball if it's a strike,' " said Audas, who had two strikes.
McAvoy, Nan Lawson and Audas singled with Shayna Harmon reaching on a walk in the sixth, but like she had for most of the game, Newsome pitcher Bailey Schinella worked out of the jam after allowing that lone run.
Aside from her 13 strikeouts, Audas scattered three hits and walked three. She also was helped out in the second inning when shortstop Kristen Wycoff snared a line drive off the bat of Jennifer Owens and quickly threw to first baseman Chelsea Hanks to double off Ashley Gornto.
"My screwball was working, and my curveball was working," Audas said. "Obviously my fastball was, too. My changeup wasn't working, but I threw it enough to keep them off-balance."
Schinella, who allowed just four hits, had two of Newsome's three hits. The other nearly left the field with Gornto's blast to leftfield in the fourth bouncing off the fence for a two-out double. Owens then grounded out to end the threat.