Canterbury pitcher Kama Woodall kept mowing down Sarasota Christian batters with ease, so much that the only suspense left in Thursday's Class 2A region quarterfinal was whether the eighth-grader would record a no-hitter.
That ended in the seventh inning when the Blazers got a single. They also scored a run with two out, ending Woodall's scoreless streak at 16 innings, which spanned four games. No matter. Woodall got the next batter to ground out to preserve a 2-1 victory.
"I really didn't know I had that long of a scoreless streak going," Woodall said. "The other team got the hit and the run, but I wasn't too nervous. I try not to have emotions when I'm out on the mound and try to work more like a robot."
Woodall's pitching helped carry the Crusaders, who struggled mightily at the plate. Canterbury won despite recording just one hit. It was puzzling to Crusaders coach Jody Moore, whose team beat Sarasota Christian 15-0 in the regular season.
"For whatever reason we seem to struggle whenever we play Sarasota Christian in the playoffs at this stage," Moore said. "This one was a whole different ball game than the one in the regular season.
"We only had one hit, but we were able to do enough thanks to some phenomenal baserunning."
In the first inning, Canterbury's Danielle Romanello was hit by a pitch. She advanced to second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a groundout by Taylor Bump and scored off another wild pitch to give the Crusaders a 1-0 lead.
Canterbury added another run in the third when Kelsey Hill walked, stole second and came home on an error.
In the seventh, the Crusaders had to sweat it out, getting a force out at home for one out and getting the final out off a grounder with a runner at third.
"We've played in a lot of tough, close games this year, and these girls don't buckle under pressure," Moore said. "It wasn't pretty, but it's a win. And that's all that matters right now."