EAST MANATEE -- The last thing an opponent wants to do is get Courtney Mirabella mad.
Sarasota High learned that lesson Thursday in the most important softball game of the season for both teams.
Braden River was clinging to a 1-0 lead in the sixth when Sarasota's Sarah-Beth Wenguard tripled with one out.
Mirabella got steamed.
The senior took her anger out on the Sailors by striking out five batters in the row to end the game and give the Pirates the Class 7A-District 11 title for their second district crown in a row.
"I don't like when girls get hits off me. It gets me pumped up and I know I have to get the next outs for sure. You basically can't let anybody else get their bat on the ball," Mirabella said. "I really like pressure. I think I handle it well, and my team does also, and we wanted to win another district championship."
Mirabella was angry at different points of the game and always responded. The Sailors had a runner reach third in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings and Mirabella ended each frame with a strikeout.
"I was really confident tonight and I knew I could get them out with certain pitches because we knew what to throw to specific girls. And my defense has been really working well and I knew they had my back," Mirabella said.
Mirabella who leads the state in strikeouts and ERA, according to MaxPreps.Com, was dominant when she had to be. She struck out 14, allowed four hits, hit a batter and issued a walk. The righthander threw 102 pitches with 76 strikes to improve her record to 15-3 and lower her ERA to 0.46 over 137.3 innings. She has not allowed a run in the last 68 innings.
"Everybody wants to beat us so for us to come out and execute it's awesome," Braden River head coach Erin Spivey said. "I am so pumped up I literally can't sit still. I can't play for them so I just go back and forth and am constantly thinking about things. I feel comfortable with a 1-0 lead with Mirabella pitching. We are not a heavily scoring team."
Braden River (21-5) had four hits and got its only run in the third. Ashley Allard singled, Kenya Yancy walked and Jessica Cadorette, who has been struggling, smacked an RBI sin
gle to left.
"On the (game-winning hit) she got me the first time. The pitch was inside and I saw it and hit it," Cadorette said. "I've been working hard at practice focusing on districts. With it being my last season of high school I really wanted to come out and play hard. On the double I was going all the way. I thought they would get me."
Cadorette gapped a one-out double to right center in the sixth and was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. The Pirates' other scoring threat came in the first when Bethany Keen led off with a double and Mirabella walked.
The Pirates will be host for their regional quarterfinal game Wednesday against the 7A-District 12 runner-up.