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DADE CITY - Jami Pass' two-out double in the fifth inning broke open a scoreless game, driving in Jamie Endress as Pasco beat Hernando 2-0 to capture the district crown.
Sophomore Liz Garcia (8-7) one-upped her three-hit, one-run performance by scattering six hits in a complete-game victory. She struck out four, walking none.
"These girls were intense and focused from Pitch 1," said third-year coach Shamalene Broner, who notched her first district title.
"We came out and hit the ball well, but we just had some bonehead plays on the base paths."
From that first pitch, it appeared the Pirates (15-9) had Leopards southpaw Ari Lowman's number. On the second pitch of the game, Pass drove a 0-1 fastball into the leftfield corner for a triple.
Pass got a little too comfortable at third, however, and Hernando catcher Ashley Lewie's pickoff attempt after a Kara Nathe strikeout proved successful, thwarting the scoring attempt. Pasco got doubled up again in the second inning, when, following a pop-foul bunt attempt, Lewie picked off Kalee Burchfield at first. The game remained a defensive one until the fifth, when Endress led off the inning with a single. She advanced to second on a groundout.
After a strikeout, Pass drove a 2-2 pitch into the left-centerfield gap. Ashley McSwain drove in Pass with a single to right. Sandwiched in between Pass' triple and double was a bunt single, leaving her a home run short of the cycle.
Overshadowed in a losing effort was another solid performance from Lowman (15-7). After allowing one hit and striking out nine in a complete-game semifinal victory Wednesday, the freshman gave up eight hits, while walking three and striking out three. "Dead bats," said Leopards coach Doug Rogers, whose team fell to 17-8. "The bats weren't moving. But I thought Ari did fine. She's been throwing a lot of innings for us. She's put us where we're at, and you can't ask for much more from a freshman. This just means we have to travel a little bit farther."