By FRANK PASTOR
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 6, 2001
GIBSONTON -- East Bay's players had a decision to make after their 3-0 win over Land O'Lakes on Saturday.
They had one jug of ice water to dump and two worthy recipients. Do they douse coach Glenn Rodriguez, who guided his team to its first state semifinal berth in his four seasons at East Bay?
Or do they soak senior Mandy Schuerman, who notched her 300th strikeout of the season and came within two outs of her 14th no-hitter of the year?
Rather than choose, they waited until Rodriguez and Schuerman were near one another and tipped the jug over both of them. Schuerman hurled a one-hitter, and East Bay (27-4-1) scored three unearned runs to advance to the Class 4A state semifinals, where it will play Green Cove Springs Clay on Wednesday in Auburndale. "It's awesome," Schuerman said. "Everybody works so hard on this team, and we deserve it."
The game was scoreless for 2 1/2 innings as Schuerman and Land O'Lakes' Ashley Patton settled into a pitchers' duel.
Schuerman struck out the first four batters, including No. 2 hitter Amber DeYoung, her 300th strikeout victim of the season. Patton was just as effective, setting down six of the first seven batters before East Bay reached her for a run in the third.
Stephanie Smith led off with a walk, and Crystal Hill sacrificed her to second. Smith scored when DeYoung overthrew Lauren Mays on Christina Alonso's grounder to third.
East Bay added two insurance runs in the sixth. Schuerman hit her second triple of the game and scored on catcher Jen Savage's errant pickoff throw. Courtesy runner Kristin Killingsworth later scored on Stephanie Smith's grounder to second base.
Schuerman, who was perfect for 51/3 innings, finished with 12 strikeouts, bringing her season total to 310. Patton struck out three, allowing six hits and two walks.