DOVER — The only thing higher than Sammy Tyler’s strikeout total Thursday was her pain threshold.
Pitching with a partially torn left quad, the Strawberry Crest junior grimaced her way through a masterpiece: 12 strikeouts, two hits, no walks in a 5-0 victory against Palmetto in the Class 6A region quarterfinals.
The postseason triumph was the first in the 4-year-old Chargers’ history. Ask Tyler (15-1) how she managed to notch seven strikeouts in the first three innings and allow no baserunner past first, and she seems as baffled as the Tigers hitters.
“I don’t even know how I throw on it, I really don’t,” said the Saint Leo commitment, a right-hander who drives off the left leg with every pitch. “I just have the heart to do it.”
Tyler got all the support she’d need in the second when University of Florida commit Megan Reed singled, advanced on Aly Masessa’s sacrifice bunt, went to third on Savannah Bradley’s fly to center, and scored on an error.
Crest (24-2) added four more runs off five hits and an error in the fifth. Catcher Mia Fung had an RBI double, while Reed and Cacey Simmons added run-scoring singles. Every run provided a bit more pain relief for the Chargers’ injured ace.
“Pretty much everything she threw was on point tonight,” Fung said. “She threw everything pretty perfect. She didn’t really struggle with any of her pitches.”
Except her drop ball. Tyler said that’s the one pitch she physically can’t throw.
“She’s coming out and she’s pitching off adrenaline and she’s doing great,” Chargers coach Mindy Miltner said.
More 6A: Lakewood Ranch senior third baseman Amber Wimmer swung at the first pitch she saw and hammered a two-run double to center. Then she took a similar approach two innings later and laced a run-scoring single to center — helping host Lakewood Ranch to a 9-1 win over Sickles.
8A: Defending champ clicking on all cylinders
Apparently, defending state champion Durant has its sights set on two in a row. The Cougars dominated in Thursday’s Class 8A region quarterfinal at Durant, defeating East Lake 11-0 in five innings.
“We’re going for everything,” Durant coach Matt Carter said. “We’re going for the gusto.”
The Cougars (20-8) turned a meager 2-0 lead into a romp that ended early due to the 10-run mercy rule by scoring nine runs over the third and fourth innings. They also had 11 of their 14 hits in that span.
“We’re hitting the ball good; we’re seeing the ball good,” Carter said.
Kennedy Dean hit a run-scoring double in Durant’s five-run third and saved her biggest hit of the season for the fourth. That’s when she blasted her first home run of the year, a three-run shot, over the leftfield fence.
Durant took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on back-to-back RBI doubles by Brooke Freeman and Alyssa Colding, who also singled and walked and scored twice. Madison Farrell added two run-scoring singles for the Cougars in their big innings.
East Lake (17-10) mustered just three hits off pitcher Paige Davis but put runners on first and second in the first two innings. Both times, Davis got batters to fly out to rightfielder Caylin Delones.
Davis finished with three strikeouts and two walks in her short stint.
More 8A: A stomach virus, as well as a week’s worth of clinicals in the medical magnet program had Palm Harbor University catcher Claire Hamilton feeling a bit queasy before Thursday’s Class 8A region quarterfinal.
“I had to see some stuff that was not making me feel so hot,” Hamilton said.
But she gave little thought to sitting this game out. Hamilton did her part, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs to lead the Hurricanes’ hit parade in an 8-4 victory over Wharton.
PHU had to rally from an early deficit. In the second inning, the Wildcats jumped out to a 3-0 lead with the big hit coming on a two-run single by Meagan Bell.
The Hurricanes answered in the bottom half of the inning with five runs, the first coming off a double by Hamilton. PHU batted around and had six straight hits.
Wharton (12-9) never recovered.
“(PHU) is a great hitting team and they were able to get the ball in the gaps and make things happen with that one big inning,” Wildcats coach Ashlee Cappucci said. “We struggled to catch up after that.”
4A: No pain, no gain for AHN freshman
TAMPA — Part of her hand was bruised and swollen. Freshman Anya Muyres didn’t seem to mind.
One pitch after being hit by a foul ball, Muyres keyed a five-run third with a two-run single as Academy of the Holy Names defeated Arcadia DeSoto County 5-3 Thursday night in a rematch of last year’s Class 4A region quarterfinal.
Trailing 1-0 in the third, AHN coach Don Barron had the Jaguars (21-3) play small ball.
Three of the eight hitters in the inning bunted, and Muyres was instructed to do likewise with runners on second and third. But when an inside pitch deflected off Muyres’ bat and hit her hand, she was allowed to hit away. After a brief timeout, Muyres’ single to center scored Ashton Hill and Caroline Sutton, giving AHN the lead for good. All five runs were unearned as DeSoto (13-11) committed its only two errors of the game.
“(DeSoto’s) infielders were playing a little back and we saw the opportunity to get the faster runners in front of me home,” Muyres said. “Coach told me to squeeze the runner in (Hill from third), but the ball hit the side of my hand. I was extremely happy I got the runs in.”
Muyres, who missed a major portion of last year with turf toe, scored on an error, and Christina Gerecke and Victoria Valdes also crossed the plate on fielder’s choices. Muyres went 3-for-3, including a double.
Winning pitcher Alexandra Gerecke retired 11 of the final 12 batters she faced after escaping a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fourth. With two runs in, Gerecke induced a popup to short, and centerfielder Hill started a double play, catching a flyball and throwing to third for the final out after a DeSoto player failed to tag going home.
More 4A: Shaila Warren went 3-for-4, including an inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the sixth inning that tied the score at 4-all, to help propel host Mulberry to a 5-4 victory over Tampa Catholic.
The Crusaders (15-11) scored two runs in the fourth inning on a throwing error, one in the fifth and another in the sixth to take a brief lead before Warren sparked her team. Erin Reynolds went 2-for-4 with a run scored, Julia Rogers was 2-for3 with an RBI and Kim Rogers went 1-for-4 with an RBI for Tampa Catholic.
2A: Lancers falter in extra innings
At Fort Myers, Southwest Florida Christian (14-6) scored the winning run off a pair of two-out bloop singles in the bottom of the 11th for a 2-1 victory, spoiling Cambridge Christian freshman Alea White’s career day.
White struck out 16 and tied the score with a leadoff home run in the top of the seventh.
“It was a fun game to be a part of,” Lancers coach Kevin Hickinbotham said. “You’d love to be on the other end of it for sure.”
Both of Southwest Florida’s decisive hits landed within 5 feet of each other in shallow rightfield.
“They couldn’t have pitched it with a pitching wedge within 5 feet of each other if they tried,” Hickinbotham said. “Tip your hat to them, they hit good pitches.”
7 p.m. Tuesday unless noted
8A: Durant at Palm Harbor U., 4
7A: Plant City at Lake Region
7A: Freedom at Chamberlain
6A: Strawberry Crest at Lakewood Ranch
5A: Bayshore at Blake
4A: Holy Names at Mulberry
Staff writer Bob Putnam, and correspondents Steve Lee and Don Jensen contributed to this report, which uses information from the Ledger and Herald.