ST. PETERSBURG — 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.”
8A: PHU catcher adds pop to offense
PALM HARBOR — 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 Hamilton gave little thought to sitting this game out.
“I just wanted to play and win this game,” she said.
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 (24-4) will host defending state champion Durant in the region semifinals Tuesday.
“The girls wanted this game bad to set up a rematch with Durant,” Hurricanes coach Kerry Katchuk said. “That was the team that knocked us out last year, and the girls have talked all offseason about the opportunity to play again.”
To make that happen, 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.”
The Hurricanes continued to string together hits and runs, scoring once in the third inning and two more in the fifth. In all, PHU had 14 hits, including three each from Jess Adams and Logyn Lilley.
That was more than enough support for Hurricanes starter Rachel Taylor, who allowed six hits.
“I had one rough inning, but there was no doubt that we would come back from that,” Taylor said. “I knew our offense would score and pick me up.”
More 8A: 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.