During Thursday's Class 5A, District 10 final against Northeast, St. Petersburg's Nikki Myers found her groove. Afterward, she was trying to find something else: the scorebook.
Wanting to know how many strikeouts she recorded, Myers emerged from the dugout after the game in search of the scorekeeper. Told she had 16, Myers was satisfied _ but only for a moment. She still wanted to see the rest of her numbers, and after some prodding, she found them.
Here's how they went: seven innings pitched, three hits allowed and two wild pitches.
They added up to a 2-1 victory for Myers, who helped St. Petersburg win its first district title in the school's 98-year history.
"Nikki pitched really well tonight," Green Devil coach Tim Comstock said. "But so did (Northeast's) Amanda (Bettker)."
And that made things miserable for the hitters, who had a hard time adjusting to their speed. Myers and Bettker each had six strikeouts and no-hitters through three innings.
Then the rain came, turning Hoyt Field into a quagmire and the game into the hitter's favor.
The Vikings (14-9) took advantage of the wet conditions as Barbie Davis laid down a bunt in the top of the fourth inning and reached base on an error. She advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on Ashleigh Lutz's single to give Northeast a 1-0 lead.
St. Petersburg (27-2) rallied in the sixth. Myers led off with a walk, went to third on Erica Crane's double and scored on Chrissy Fetzer's squeeze bunt. Crane, who stole third, then scored on a fielder's choice by her sister, Jessica.
"I was a little bit worried for a while," Comstock said. "We were behind and that starts to make you think about things. But the girls dug down deep and got a couple of nice hits. Winning the district was a big thing for us, but I told the girls, "You cannot underestimate your opponents, especially when it's crunch time.' "
4A-12: PHU's experience prevails
TAMPA _ In a game where the young met the younger, it was the older team that prevailed as Palm Harbor University won its first district title with a 10-0 win over Wharton.
PHU, in its second year, capitalized on four errors and exploded for 11 hits to defeat the first-year Wildcats. Both teams make their debut in the regional playoffs Tuesday.
"We'll look back on this in three years when we're playing for the state championship and say "This is where it all started,' " Wharton coach Julie Unger said. "I've got three more years with these kids."
PHU used a seven-run sixth inning to end the game by the 10-run rule. Mary Goldman's single drove in pinch-hitter Sandra Rossi with the final run.
"We started the year with the goal of winning districts, and we did," said PHU coach Chuck Poetter, who led Largo to four straight district titles before leaving to coach PHU. "But we're still young, and we have peaks and valleys. We can play like this every night, but we don't because we're young."
_ JOE HUMPHREY
A-10: Keswick, Shorecrest advance
ST. PETERSBURG _ Keswick Christian and Shorecrest meet in the championship after respective 7-3 and 25-2 semifinal wins over Indian Rocks Christian and Oldsmar Christian School.
It was a pitching battle of styles, Jacqueline LaChance's speed against Shannon Avey's soft touch, until Keswick adjusted and broke it open a 2-1 game in the fifth. As the Eagles defense collapsed, Lindsey Crosby, Avey and Rebekah Jordan all had doubles, and with Stacy Bartlett's single Keswick ended the inning leading 7-1.
After a rocky start for Oldsmar pitcher Mary Pitt, who loaded the bases with walks, things did not get much better.
Shorecrest scored 10 runs in the first inning, 10 in the second, and five in the third before the starters were pulled.
Lisa Bradley's pitching, backed by tight defense, held Oldsmar to a single run. Shorecrest's Alison Roberts had a single and two doubles while Kelli Earle managed a single, a double and a triple.
_ ED REED