Softball: Cougars freshman nails down first no-hitter

By Bryan Burns, Times Staff Writer
Published March 1, 2008

CLEARWATER - East Lake coach Mike Estes knew Countryside freshman pitcher Alyssa Bache would be tough to beat.

Estes coached Bache on his 10-and-under travel ball team and watched the fast-rising right-hander mature over the years.

Nothing, however, could have prepared Estes for Bache's dominance against his Eagles Friday.

Bache struck out 13 and threw the first no-hitter of her young high school career to lead Countryside to a 5-0 win.

"She was good today; she kept us guessing," Estes said. "She had a good rise ball tonight."

Bache (5-0) nearly pitched a perfect game, giving it up with two outs in the seventh after hitting Susan Jallo in the arm with her first pitch.

"That would probably be my best pitching performance," Bache said. "It was a really good feeling. I was proud of myself."

Countryside (9-0) staked Bache to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Ali Lamb smacked a double down the leftfield line, and Gia Tomossone followed with another two-bagger that brought home two runs. Tomossone later scored on Desiree Baker's RBI groundout.

Countryside added a run in the second thanks to consecutive East Lake (5-5) errors and one in the fourth on Ayanna Andrews' run-scoring single.

Bache, meanwhile, struck out at least a batter an inning and fanned two in every inning except the fifth and seventh. Her emergence has been a relief to Countryside coach Kaylyn Bayly, who has relied on the youngster more than expected with injuries continuing to nag senior starter Desiree Baker.

"We kind of knew (Bache) was coming, but she's been awesome," Bayly said. "She's going to be a tremendous pitcher. She already is a good pitcher. The sky's the limit for her."

One big inning puts Patriots on top

PINELLAS PARK - Pinellas Park kept hitting and hitting until finally breaking through with a four-run fifth inning to defeat Seminole 4-2 Friday night.

Sophomore Sara Nevins broke a 1-all tie with a three-run homer and freshman Tatum McDowell had two doubles and reached base three times as the Patriots (8-3) had eight hits.

"We hit the ball a ton tonight and hit it hard," coach Shane DeMartino said. "It was a great team effort, we didn't quit when we were behind and everyone contributed."

Seminole took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Kaycee Huneke singled home Kristi Belvedere. The Warhawks (8-3) had the opportunity for additional damage with runners at the corners, but Hillary Driscoll was picked off from third to end the threat.

Tracey Coward started the Patriots' fifth-inning rally with a one-out double and came around to score on Amanda Walters' two-out single. McDowell followed with a double to rightfield to set up Nevins' big fly.

Seminole loaded the bases in the seventh and had the go-ahead run at the plate but Nevins closed the game with her 15th strikeout and secured the victory.

Corey Long, Times correspondent