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ZEPHYRHILLS - In his first season as a softball coach, Craig Milburn, who coached Zephyrhills baseball teams for 16 seasons, scheduled some tough foes in hopes of preparing his Bulldogs for the playoffs.
They weren't ready for Shaina Dent.
The Groveland South Lake pitcher (12-3) scattered three hits and struck out 14 Friday in a 4-0 win over host Zephyrhills.
"When you've got a pitcher who throws like that you don't have to make too many plays," Milburn said. "That's the best pitcher I've seen this year."
Dent, a freshman right-hander who fanned the side twice and had eight strikeouts in a row, came within two of her season-high. She had 16 strikeouts in a 1-0 loss to Crystal River.
"You can't take the limelight away from Shaina," Eagles coach Beau Jarrell said. "Obviously, the rise ball was working well."
The two-time defending district champion Bulldogs (19-7) finished with two more wins and a playoff round shy of last season.
Sarah Johnson (10-5), who allowed three runs and eight of South Lake's nine hits, took the loss.
She did not get much help from her defense as Zephyrhills made four errors, including two by rightfielder Jessica Davis.
South Lake (22-5) scored three runs in the fourth on three hits and two errors.
Sky Matheson, Danielle Thomas and Dent singled. Pinch-runner Jordan Thomas scored when Kaley King struck out, but reached safely when Caryn Allison dropped the ball and threw home to Johnson covering the plate.
Ariana Godwin had a run-scoring groundout and Dent an RBI single.
"We, mentally, let a couple of plays get away from us," Milburn said.
The Bulldogs did not get a hit until Davis' one-out single in the fifth. Aljenaye Black also singled in that inning.
In the sixth, Teresa Doolittle doubled for the game's lone extra-base hit. In both instances, Dent got strikeouts for the final out of the inning to leave runners stranded.
The closest Zephyrhills came to scoring was in the fourth when Hillary Tunker and Caryn Allison walked. Tunker stole third with one out, but Doolittle and Ashley Anderton popped out to end the threat.