Just when the Rams seemed to be sinking into mediocrity, they pulled off a four-game winning streak to improve to 9-4.
More important, Ridgewood remains in a hotly contested battle for second place in Class 4A, District 8. The Rams, Land O'Lakes and Tarpon Springs are deadlocked with 5-3 district marks behind unbeaten leader River Ridge (8-0 in 4A-8).
The Rams have held opponents scoreless in the four-game winning streak with workhorse pitcher Breanne Hill (8-2, 1.15 ERA) starting each game and earning the win. Hill's two-hit shutout in Tuesday's 1-0 win over Mitchell gave the Rams a sweep of the Mustangs.
"If we shut 'em out, we can't lose," Rams coach Greg Bollinger said.
Tera McCleary, who scored the game-winner Tuesday, has provided the Rams' offense with a spark. McCleary, who batted .400 last season, is 7-for-10 the past three games and batting .425.
"She's a good contact hitter," Bollinger said. "She doesn't strike out much. She takes all the extra batting practice she can."
'DOGS POUND 'CATS: Zephyrhills scored a season-high 15 runs in Tuesday's 15-5 win over winless Wesley Chapel. That topped the Bulldogs' previous bests this season of 10 runs in victories over Gulf and Ridgewood.
Sarah Johnson and Robin Hanlon fueled Zephyrhills' offense with three hits apiece. Johnson scored four runs and drove in three while Hanlon had four RBIs and scored two runs.
WHY WORRY: After Wesley Chapel's 15-5 loss to Zephyrhills, coach Tom McHugh was not as worried about starter Amy Benner as he was about the defense behind his junior pitcher. McHugh figured the Wildcats made so many errors that only four of the Bulldogs' runs were earned.
"We still make errors by the bucket-load," McHugh said. "but none of my girls have quit. They think they can win every time out. There's no quit."
Already thinking ahead to the Sunshine Athletic Conference coaches' meeting, McHugh said despite his team's 0-14 record, there are some Wildcats who should not be overlooked when it comes to postseason honors.
First and foremost, he said, is junior first baseman Sarah Van Buskirk, a standout infielder and .467 hitter.
"I we don't win a game there's still kids on this team that need to be all-conference and she's one of them," McHugh said.
_ STEVE LEE