LITHIA — The Spring Fling is getting more surreal by the year for Brandon ace Kayla Goff.
Twelve months after standing throw-to-throw with East Bay right-hander Kayla Cox for a 13-inning triumph in this very tournament despite Cox's 31 strikeouts, Goff again was at her best.
And fate again was at its most bizarre.
In Friday's first round at Fishhawk Sports Complex, Goff won another intense pitchers' duel — even as opposing pitcher Cortney Radke tossed a no-hitter. Scoring on a seventh-inning dropped pop fly, the Eagles (10-8) escaped with a 1-0 upset of Class 4A power Mitchell (11-1).
"I knew this was going to come down to whoever made the first error," said Goff, who tossed a one-hitter while striking out 12. "During the whole game our defense was actually there behind me and I felt like I could trust them. (Mitchell) ended up making the error."
It occurred with two out in the seventh. Gianna McNealy had led off with a walk and moved to second on Goff's sacrifice bunt. Chelsea Gonzalez then struck out before Cassandra Gonzalez's high popup to shallow leftfield was dropped by backpedaling shortstop Heather Muccino, scoring McNealy.
Radke, whose team entered the tournament ranked eighth in 4A, struck out 12 and didn't allow a Brandon ball to leave the infield through the first six innings.
"We're definitely not unfamiliar with this," said Eagles coach Jen Steadham, whose team was no-hit by Bloomingdale last year but prevailed on an error. "I'm just bubbling with joy right now."
The joy was fleeting, thanks in part to East Bay junior Sierra "C.C." Rock. Normally the Indians' starting catcher, Rock stepped in for the injured Cox and tossed consecutive complete games to move East Bay into today's 10 a.m. semifinal against Plant.
Following a two-hitter in a 3-2 triumph against University School, Rock three-hit the Eagles in a 3-2 quarterfinal win. Both of Brandon's runs, scored in the top of the seventh, were unearned.
"(Rock) did great," said Indians coach Glenn Rodriguez, who's holding Cox out of this tournament as a precaution against a possible flare-up of tendinitis. "She's been waiting to get an opportunity to pitch. She's a team player. She'll do anything it takes to help us out."
Elsewhere Friday, Bloomingdale's Katie Marion and Marlie Braddy teamed for seven RBIs in an 8-4 first-round win against Robinson. Marion then collected two more RBIs in the Bulls' three-run fifth in a 3-1 quarterfinal win against Strawberry Crest.
Bloomingdale faces Wharton in today's semifinals. The Wildcats exploded for eight second-inning runs off seven hits in a 9-6 quarterfinal win against Riverview. Katlin Hall, one of four 'Cats with two hits, highlighted the inning with a two-run double.