Two weeks ago, St. Petersburg Catholic pitcher Deanna Henriott was hit by a line drive and forced out of action.
On Tuesday, Henriott was back on the mound for the first time since the injury, and her return couldn't have come at a better time.
Henriott tossed a one-hitter with 12 strikeouts as the Barons (10-0) knocked off Academy of the Holy Names 4-1. The Jaguars (9-2) entered the game with a No. 5 state ranking in Class 3A.
"I was very nervous," Henriott said. "They have always given us a run for our money and it's always been a tight game between us and them."
The Barons offense gave Henriott a tremendous boost.
In the first inning, Amanda Kolonick and Bonnie Joyner both singled, and Stephanie Giparas, Henriott and Krysta Hall all walked. Two runs were already in when Lyndsey McKenna highlighted the rally with a two-out, two-run single into centerfield.
"It was so important," Henriott said. "Usually we don't score (early) against them. When we do score, it's usually in the seventh inning or further."
Henriott retired 12 straight Jaguars, but in the fifth inning Becky Vyzas led off with a single to short leftfield.
Henriott has never thrown a perfect game, but she does have eight career no-hitters, including three this year. Another feat she has yet to achieve is beating Academy of the Holy Names twice in one season. Throughout her four-year career, the schools always split.
"I think they know now we can play with them," Barons coach Tom Fabian said. "We know we can beat them."
The Jaguars know they have to play sharper in the rematch. The defense allowed 16 base runners, including seven walks.