Nikki Delandy delivers another decisive hit on the brink of extra innings for 1-0 victory.
By ERIC MUSKATEVC
Published February 27, 2004
CLEARWATER - The crowd at the Misty Springs complex was settling in for the long haul Thursday when the seventh inning arrived and there still was no score between Countryside and Palm Harbor U.
The teams, notorious for playing extra innings, were headed there again before Nikki Delandy came to bat in the seventh.
Delandy, who won last season's district final between the squads with a three-run homer in the 18th, did it again with a single to left field that scored Kit Dunbar from third base and gave Countryside a 1-0 victory.
"She has really been coming through for us," Countryside coach Kaylyn Bayly said. "She has had a great start to the season."
Like the 5A-9 final, this game pitted PHU pitcher Dani Hofer against Bree Spence, and few balls were put in play.
Hofer (3-1) struck out 12 for the Hurricanes (5-1). She allowed just one hit, to Ally Kidman in the first, through six innings before Dunbar, Gionna DiSalvatore and Delandy singled.
Spence went seven innings. She struck out nine and allowed just one hit, to Bryce Crovall in the fifth.
"We were more than ready," PHU coach Chuck Poetter said. "We chased. That was the difference. We chased balls, and they didn't."
The Hurricanes beat two state champions last week and won three games in the Lake Mary tournament before losing to Bloomingdale in the final.
Countryside (6-0) won a tourney in Palmetto last week, as Spence threw four shutouts.
"I think that really helped," said Spence (5-0). "There's just that whole nerves thing. There's a lot of pressure.
"Every time we play, we get the biggest crowds and there's a lot of pressure," she said. "A lot of people fold under pressure, and I'm just happy to see we haven't done that yet."