After a series of unforeseen scenarios, Countryside made an unexpected appearance against Northeast in Friday's Pinellas County Athletic Conference softball title game.
The Cougars didn't secure its spot until Thursday, which didn't give coach Kaylyn Bayly much time to decide who would start on the mound. It was a difficult choice considering Countryside and Northeast also are the top seeds in next week's Class 7A, District 9 tournament.
In the end, Bayly figured two pitchers were better than one. And Alyssa Queen and Stella Preston were equally effective in a 4-1 victory.
"I made up my mind before the game those were the two I was going with," Bayly said. "It worked out well because they both pitched great."
Queen went the first four innings, Preston the final three.
The offense provided just enough. The big hit came on Brittany Creamer's two-run homer in the sixth inning.
The Cougars have won five of seven and scored 10 runs per game. They also have fared well against the Vikings, winning three of the four meetings.
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Track: Lakewood girls, boys fare well at 2A-11
Lakewood, despite losing the bulk of its star power from last year's state champion boys team, won its third straight district title, scoring 172 points at the 2A-11 meet to beat Gibbs by 68 at Sarasota Booker.
The Spartans used nine runners in various lineups to sweep the 4x100-meter relay (43.47), 4x400 (3:32.56) and 4x800 (8:39.11). Lakewood's other champions were Devontae Persha in the 800 (1:59.66) and Jahaven Haye in the 200 (22.07).
Dunedin's Ahmad Middleton won the long jump (22 feet, 8 inches), 110 hurdles (14.55) and 300 hurdles (37.98).
The Spartans girls finished second with 140 points, one fewer than Wauchula Hardee. Lakewood's only title was the 4x400 (4:29.50).
Gibbs' Jerosan Fletcher won the long jump (17-4), 200 (25.86) and 400 (58.88). She was favored in the 100 but was disqualified after a false start in the final.
Dunedin's Olivia Welsh took first in the pole vault (9-0) and 100 hurdles (15.26).
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Baseball: Osceola clinches PCAC South
SEMINOLE - It was senior night at Osceola, and Keith Weisenberg wasn't about to end his stellar career with a loss. Despite not having his best stuff, he pitched a complete game in a 5-3 win over St. Petersburg.
The win clinched the PCAC South title for Osceola (17-4). Its opponent for Thursday's game hasn't been determined, but East Lake can get in by beating Tarpon Springs on Wednesday.
"There was no way I was leaving that game," Weisenberg said. "We love playing against St. Pete. It was for the South (championship), and I know a lot of guys over there."
Weisenberg scattered seven hits and struck out 14 to improve to 7-1. But the Green Devils did not make it easy.
Staked to a 2-0 lead after the first thanks, in part, to his RBI single, he ran into trouble in the second. With two outs and a runner on first, he got Chris Colonel swinging for Strike 3. But the ball was dropped by catcher Mike Kleinman.
Kleinman thought he heard the umpire call the batter out, so he did not throw to first to complete the out. The runner was called safe, which put two on with two outs. David Phrathep and Richie Rivera followed with RBI singles to make it 2-2.
"It's part of the game," Weisenberg said. "The umpire made a mistake, and we should have thrown to first anyway. It wasn't all the umpire's fault. We had to get past it."
Which they did in the bottom of the second. With the bases loaded and one out thanks to an error, Abbi Jimenez drove in a run with a fly ball to center. Jaret Helinger then singled in another run, and Joey Coca scored on a passed ball to make it 5-2.
That was all Weisenberg and the Warriors needed.
St. Petersburg (15-8) got one run back in the fifth on a Matt Mainelli two-out single. Weisenberg ended the game by striking out five of the last six batters.
"Keith was really good without having his good stuff," Osceola coach Stefan Futch said. "He had okay stuff. But he moved the ball around, got some groundouts, got some flyouts. He pitched through it when he didn't have his good stuff."
St. Petersburg coach Travis Phelps said he wished he could have the second inning back.
"We didn't play badly, but we did play one bad inning," Phelps said. "We don't usually do that. We don't usually have errors like that. This one hurts a little bit."
Times staff writer Rodney Page contributed to this report.