SARASOTA -- Kayla Scofield knows how to throw a celebration.
The Cardinal Mooney junior hit the first homer of her high school career Thursday and did it in "grand" style, socking a bases-loaded shot over the wall to propel the Cougars to an 8-2 victory over Bradenton Christian in the Class 3A District 10 championship game at Out-Of-Door-Academy.
Cardinal Mooney was holding a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning when Scofield took a pitch and drove it over the left-field fence with two outs.
"I was shocked. I just kind of swung and hoped for the best," the outfielder said. "It was pretty awesome. When it went over, I was speechless. My bat has really picked up at the end of the season along with our whole team. It's a good day."
The Cougars loaded the bases on singles by Kaitlyn Casey, Elaine Chamberlain and Jillian Caspar. Nicole Russomanno got the third infield hit of the inning to drive in a run and set the stage for Scofield.
Cardinal Mooney (15-8)
also got a standout effort from pitcher Natalie Maglich. The sophomore right0hander struck out 13 and allowed four hits and three walks in going the full seven innings.
"Kayla has a lot of athletic skills, and we see things in practice. That was the first homer she ever hit, but when she hits the ball she hits it very hard," Cardinal Mooney head coach Don Congdon said. "It's a kind of thing that it's great for her and what she did for the team and the situation. Her focus was really good. Natalie has come a long way and is a great athlete. She can play any position."
Cardinal Mooney defeated Bradenton Christian (11-11) for the third time this season. It was the eighth district championship in Congdon's 17 years as the Cougars head coach and first since 2007.
Scofield reached base three times, getting a single and walk to go with her homer. Rachel Misch and Casey had three hits apiece for Cardinal Mooney, and Kaspar was 2-for-2.
Bradenton Christian scored its only runs in the third on a two-run single by Rachel Brown that drove in Savannah Shontere, who singled, and Panthers starting pitcher Hailey Dearlove, who reached on a walk.
"Our girls played tough, and a couple of plays didn't go our way," Bradenton Christian head coach Gene Brown said. "I am proud of the way the girls played, and we are still playing. Our goal is to play well Wednesday and keep going."
Both teams qualified for Wednesday's region opener and will be matched against either Northside Christian or St. Petersburg Catholic, which play today for their district title.
Bradenton Christian will be on the road against the winner, and Cardinal Mooney will play host to the loser. The region semifinal is scheduled for next Friday.